Drowning in the Black (Letter) Sea

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Shawn Akers

Ron Cantor

Looking down at my notes, entirely in Hebrew for the first time, was as helpful as looking at Morse code … I knew I had made a mistake … but God is good, and He really blessed us on Shabbat. Let me explain …

First, thank you so much, to everyone who prayed for me regarding teaching this weekend in Hebrew. My Hebrew messages are never perfect pictures of dik-duk (grammar) and I made a small mistake in that I typed out my entire message in Hebrew. You might think—wow, you wrote it in Hebrew, amazing—(if you are thinking that…I love you!) but it threw me off a bit… well, more than a bit.

Having looked at Latin letters most of my life, my brain goes into spastic mode when it encounters a page full of black Hebrew letters without vowels! (No vowels in Modern Hebrew!) For instance, here is just the title of my message:

תתחזק באדוניי

Now, imagine looking at nine pages of that! And what made things even worse was that when I reprinted my message at the congregation, it printed without my carefully created, color-coordinated outline that I painstakingly prepared… Come to think of it, Morse code would have been easier!

Normally my notes are in English and I only write out in Hebrew unfamiliar words that are in my message. I think that is the way most Messianic immigrants teach. That way, I don’t end up reading a message in Hebrew, causing me to over-concentrate and look at paper, instead of people—the Lord’s precious Israelis that have returned to Him!

Even still…by God’s grace, He seemed to touch many people, as about half the congregation came forward at the end to L’hitchazek b’Elohim! (see the very end of 1 Samuel 30:6 to figure that out…or just CLICK HERE). There was a wonderful presence of the Lord hovering over us, as Ari’el, one of our anointed worship leaders, led us in song.

Salvation and other Great Testimonies

Like most of us, it feels good when someone encourages you, especially after you do something in which you are insecure. A young lady that I had not seen before came up to me after the message and said…and I’ll paraphrase:

“I have had a friend for five years, but did not have the courage to tell them that I was a believer. Finally I knew I had to, and brought them this morning to the congregation. I was so happy that they were able to hear a relevant message in Hebrew! They really enjoyed it!” 

I was so happy (and slightly stunned) that an unbeliever felt my message in Hebrew was relevant!

She said some other encouraging things, but that was all I needed to leave the congregation super-blessed. Let’s pray for her friend, whom I was able to briefly meet afterward, to come to the Messiah!

Even more exciting, at the conclusion of the meeting, the grandmother of one of our faithful congregants, made a confession of faith in Yeshua! I told her, “Yesh misibah bashamayim bizchutech! There is a party in heaven because of you!” (Luke 15:7)

Another young adult told me that he was feeling very down Friday night. Certain things happened to him to make him feel that he had no friends who loved him or cared for him. The message centered on the fact that God loves us, all the time. He gave me a big hug and thanked me.

Humble Pie Can’t Hurt

Of course, lest I think too highly of myself, a friend shared, as I was literally out the door of the congregation… “You normally flow better than today…it was, ‘eh.’” Israelis use an Arabic word, dugri, to describe when someone simply get’s the point, without any sugarcoating. She was right … those difficult Hebrew letters! No time to give up though!


Ron Cantor is the director of Messiah’s Mandate International in Israel, a Messianic Ministry dedicated to taking the message of Jesus from Israel to the ends of the earth (Acts 1:8). Ron also travels internationally teaching on the Jewish Roots of the New Testament. He serves on the pastoral team of Tiferet Yeshua, a Hebrew-speaking congregation in Tel Aviv. His newest book, Identity Theft, will be released on April 16th. Follow him at @RonSCantor on Twitter.

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