"When the ark rested, Moses would say: Return O Lord to the myriads of Israel's families. Arise, O Lord for thy resting place, thou and thy glorious ark. May thy priests be clothed with righteousness; may thy followers shout for joy. For the sake of thy servant David, reject not thy anointed. I give you good instruction; forsake not my Torah. It is a tree of life to those who take hold of it, and happy are those who support it. Its ways are ways of pleasantness, and all its paths are peace. Turn us to thee, O Lord, and let us return; renew our days as of old "
― From prayer after public reading of the Torah
What is it?
It is a place in time and space.
Yached Levavenu's overall purpose is to enlist the efforts of all those awakening Israelites called to know their identity at this time to begin to build the Mikdash / sanctuary for God's guiding Presence, (II Chron.6: 38-42, 7:14). This is not a call to build a physical edifice at any physical place. Rather, it is a call to build the spiritual sanctuary of prayers, a virtual Mishkan / Tabernacle, out of the aggregate prayers of all concerned members of the tribes of Israel. It is to serve as the Tabernacle, the Tent of Meeting, for homeward bound Israel. God tells us that He is enthroned on and dwells in, i.e. inhabits the prayers of His people (Psalm 22:5). It is hoped at Yached Levavenu that the virtual Mishkan of prayers will serve as its name implies, a tent of meeting and communication between the God of Israel and his people seeking repentance and restoration. It is a current effort to marshal the focused, specific-content prayer of all returnees in order to aid in the return process of klal / whole Israel, even those who are not yet called home. We desire to facilitate a form of "communal" prayer despite our diverse situations, asking that HaShem guide us and unite the heart of all Israel to return to Him, the only God of Avraham, Yitzhak and Yaakov. Yached Levavenu promotes the seeking of this Guidance to guide and direct us in our repentance in order to return to the Covenant we all made at Mt. Sinai. God's guiding Presence has guided Israel of old in their eastward movement through the wilderness of Sin to the Land. It is hoped that His Guiding Presence will prompt us in similar, albeit more efficient trek, from "the wilderness of sin in the West" to repentance and the Land. Ordinarily, it would be a stretch, linking the Hebrew "sin" to the English "sin." However, it is the assertion of Yached Levavenu that a majority of prophetic Ephraim resides in the English-speaking West. (Hos. 11:10, 13:15, Isa. 49:12, 59:19, Zach. 8:7). Perhaps it is a fitting hint.
This call is going to all members of Israel of the returning Ten Tribes, and of course to those of Yehudah who feel moved to participate and lend their help. All the Tribes need God's active guidance for the tasks ahead. The call is patterned after Ex. 35: 21, 25, where men and women, "all those whose heart stirred them up, and were made willing, brought to the Lord's offerings, i.e. possessions and skills, for the building of the Mishkan of the congregation. We take patterns, pointers and directives from the building of the physical Mishkan in the wilderness. We know that every aspect of the Mishkan is a lesson in the service of God. Some of these will have a correspondence to the building and function of the virtual Mishkan advocated here.
Why build it?
For guidance in coming together and in returning to the Covenant.
God himself tells us why He had Israel build the Mishkan: "Let them make a sanctuary for me - that I may dwell among them," (Ex. 25:8). His interfacing Presence between Himself and mankind, the Shekhinah would manifest there in a physical way, for guiding communication in the wilderness for the homeward bound tribes, (Ex. 29:38-42, Lev. 1:1). It was to be the holy place, a Beit El / a House of God, a kind of portable Sinai, where Israel could sense God's Presence in order to access God's guiding revelation. Isaiah is admonishing today's returnees of Israel, to look to our father Avraham and to our mother Sarah, (Isa. 51:1-5). Avraham alone was called to the Eternal in the midst of utter idolatry. Avraham responded by interfacing with G-d, i.e. dialoging, arguing, bargaining, and thusly became the "friend of God." In essence he invited the transcendent Eternal One back into a perceivable and knowable Presence in the world. The Book of Hosea, written expressly to the awakening Ten Tribes of Israel, reminds us that "our father Yaakov wept, and made supplication unto Him, he found Him at Beit El, and there He spoke with us." (Hos. 13:4). The Scriptures indicate that we will also be spoken to and answered again, in our time, when we sincerely seek Him with our whole heart on our way to Beit El, the House of G-d. For this reason we seek to build the Mishkan of Prayers. The God of Yaakov promises to guide us in our time of distress in the way we need to go, as He guided our father Yaakov in the way he went, (Gen.35: 3). The journeys and stops along the way of return of the many individuals who comprise the peoples of Joseph may differ from each other. However, the commonality is that we have all broken and forsaken the Covenant, we have all conformed to the ways of the nations whom we set out to imitate. Therefore, all the routes of return will have the common thread of heading toward the goal of returning to ever-increasing faithfulness to the Covenant. Yached Levavenu is inviting the early returnees to ask for Divine Guidance and preparation for that task ahead.
For the Ruach haKodesh to guide us to come fully back from the spiritually dead.
Upon our awakening to our identity from our spiritual death, we are finding that we have died because we offended in Baal, (Hos.13: 2). Though her children number by the millions, our mother Rachel is allegorically depicted as weeping for them, for they are dead.... spiritually dead. (Jer. 31:15). Rachel's voice is heard at Ramah, the place associated with the prophetess and judge Devorah, as well as the prophet Samuel. Hence, Rachel's weeping is a "prophetic voice to be understood especially our time." Since their disappearance into the land of Assyria, her children were judged and sentenced to worship in the houses of foreign gods. The history of their 2700 year-old spiritual captivity in the philosophies, replacement theologies and mind-sets of "Galut Edom," / "the exile of Edom" i.e. the Greco-Roman Occidental World, has bound (Hebrew: wedded) her children to idols. They have blinded them to seeing, hearing and walking according to God's directives, (Psalm 115:1-9, Hos. 4:17). They will need direct Divine intervention in their lives to recognize them and to be loosed from them.
What about the contents of the Mishkan?
The Lechem haPanim, a metaphor for those "standing in" for the rest.
Among other furnishings, the Mishkan housed the golden showbread table. It held the twelve weekly showbreads (lechem panim) that the Levites brought for each Sabbath to represent each of the Tribes, to appear in unity (Klal Israel) before the Presence. The Hebrew term Lechem panim literally means bread of / with faces, and has been translated in English as bread of the Presence. They were the interior grain offerings prepared (made into breads) by the priests, in contrast to the grain offerings for the exterior altar. Yached Levavenu uses the symbolism of the Mishkan and the lechem panim to describe the functions and labors needed today by the early contingent now arising to self consciousness and awareness of their identity and spiritual needs. These services and labors are needed to gain access to God's guiding Presence for all the Tribes.
The building of the virtual Mishkan of Prayers and other prayer projects, can be conceptualized as analogous to contributions of gold, silver and other needed building materials by members of the twelve Tribes of Israel to build the original Mishkan in the wilderness, (Ex, 35-38). The twelve showbreads represented the Twelve Tribes before God in His intimate sanctuary for the Tribes' sustenance in the wilderness of Sinai. They could be described as the perfect synthesis of the relations between Divine Providence and His Tribes, at once representing physical sustenance and physical limitation: "...know that man does not live by bread only, but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God does man live." (Deut. 8:3). Man must do his share of work and know from Whom the fruits of his toil flows. Likewise, today's representatives of the Tribes from around the world can likewise "stand in" as virtual lechem panim. They can constantly renew their prayers for the Tribes' spiritual sustenance, directions and interests before God's Guiding Presence in the Mishkan of Prayers in today's Wilderness of Nations. Yached Levavenu invites those from all the Twelve Tribes who were called to know the identity of the Ten Tribes, to build this virtual Mishkan of prayers for the sake of furthering more speedy personal and collective repentance among ALL the Tribes. Secondarily, Yached Levavenu musters those called to know about the identity of the returning Ten Tribes, to participate in special prayer projects (as needed), throughout the year and join the ranks of dedicated workers who "stand in" for the rest of Israel. We at Yached Levavenu hope that such endeavors will contribute toward the return of God's guiding Presence among and throughout all the Tribes of Israel. We look forward to Divine Guidance to promote their return to the Torah and advance their journey toward the corporate Redemption of all Israel and subsequently of the world.
What is expected?
Taking Elijah's challenge to active participation.
Building this virtual Mishkan of prayers is a collective effort as was the original Mishkan the collective effort of the entire nation of Israel. It is voluntary, as when Moshe was told: "speak to the children of Israel and take offerings from me, from every man whose heart moves him shall you take offerings," (Ex 25; 1-2). It is to be built, supported, and fueled by those who want to go beyond just knowing the identity of the returning Lost Ten Tribes to the imperatives in the Torah and the messages to us in the books of the Prophets. The focus is not on private sectarian agendas, but exclusively on the guiding Presence to be drawn down into our prayers to guide our return and reunification. The only agenda is fostering greater receptivity for Divine Guidance so that we may contribute to the speedy return of the Ten Tribes to Torah observance.
Though growing in numbers, at this time these "early pioneers, are few," one from a city, two from a family, (Jer. 3:14). Yached Levavenu maintains that these small lots and numbers of early returnees are mentioned in the Prophets for a specific purpose of service in the return process of the rest of Ten Tribes. Their task is operational before the great vast movements of waking up and returning. Perhaps you are one of these early pioneers whose heart is stirred up to build the Mishkan of Prayers. If so, recognize that this animating spark has come from the G-d of Israel, (Jer. 50:20). Realize that He gave you that power to use in His service. Ask Him if it is time.... your time, to act in that capacity now.
We envision that along the way to final reunification in the Land, we will come into increased compliance with the Covenant. We also look forward to coming into more individual and corporate spiritual healing, and into subsequent fellowship with each other within our respective groups as well as with Yehudah. The diverse backgrounds and settings of our captivity in Galut Edom-Yavan color our perceptions of what ought to be and give rise to protracted controversies and confusions. They can all be clarified when we appeal to Divine Guidance. Yached Levavenu calls all returnees to appeal to the Keeper of Israel for that guidance. The message of Elijah challenges all of us to do that. As we converge on our individual roads to Yerushalayim, we will recognize each other more and more and come into the unity that the Prophets depict and hopefully Yached Levavenu envisions and fosters. At this time we are just dry bones coming together. Our "dry" bones need the animating Spirit of God to speedily ensoul us, (Ez. 37). The God of our fathers is calling us to wake us up to who we are. Let us respond with our prayers of thanks and supplication:
"With the ark of thy strength we can return and prevail."
(II Chron. 6: 41)
"Arise O L-rd into thy rest, thou and the ark of thy strength."
Suggestions on what to do:
Talk to the God of Avraham, Yitzhak and Yaakov about what you have just read. Let your soul's emotions accompany the voiced words of your prayers to fully express what is being motivated in your heart about these principles and ideas. Study the references and talk to Him some more and expect answers. Let us know what answers you receive.