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Saturday, August 24, 2019


FEAST OF SAINT BARTHOLOMEW


Ester, Chapter 5, Verse 9
That day Haman left happy and in good spirits. But when he saw that Mordecai at the royal gate did not rise, and showed no fear of him, he was filled with anger toward him.

Change one letter in the name of Haman and it becomes human. How many times have you been in good spirits and happy when bam all of the sudden something upsets you and now you are in the pit of despair? Haman was happy because his pride was enriched, and he saw himself a god and then upon exiting the gate of the palace that Jew Mordecai was sitting at the gate and refused to stand and showed no fear of the great and powerful Haman and reminded him he is mortal. Bam-get even time. Haman goes home and brews telling his perfectly evil mate Zeresh (AKA Devil Woman).


Devil Woman[1]

Together with her husband, Haman, she plotted to annihilate the entire Jewish nation and to hang Mordecai upon a towering gallows. Thankfully, we know how well her plans worked out in the end… Every Purim, in the Shoshanat Yaakov poem, we memorialize her wickedness by gleefully singing, “Cursed be Zeresh, wife of [Haman], who terrorized me.”


Who Was Zeresh?

Zeresh’s name appears twice in the Book of Esther, both times as an advisor to her husband. She is the one who suggests that Haman rid himself of Mordechai by hanging him on a gallows 50 cubits tall. In her second appearance, she advises him that he will never be able to vanquish Mordechai, but will instead fall ignobly. Combing through the classic sources, we can piece together some parts of her personality. Her father was Tattenai, “the ruler of across the river, who makes an appearance in the Book of Ezra when he tries (unsuccessfully) to halt the rebuilding of the Temple in Jerusalem. In the first chapter of the Book of Esther, Queen Vashti refuses her drunken husband’s order to appear before him at the feast. The king consults with his wise men, and one Memuchan advises him to dispose of his rebellious wife and find a better one. Some say that Memuchan is a pseudonym for Haman, who wished to take revenge against Vashti for not inviting his wife, Zeresh, to her party for women.
Her Advice

The sources describe Zeresh as a very wise woman who even knew the secrets of sorcery. According to the Midrash, Haman had 365 advisors, but Zeresh’s advice was the best he received. She found an original way to kill Mordechai, one that had never been tried, telling her husband: You must remember that Mordechai is a Jew. If you try to kill him with a sword, know that Pharaoh attempted to decapitate Moses and failed. If you wish to stone him, remember how David slew Goliath with stones. If you try to drown him, remember how G‑d tore the sea before Israel. If you want to exile him to the desert, remember how Israel wandered in the desert for forty years and thrived. Joseph was released from jail and became the viceroy. Chananya, Mishael and Azarya went out from a fiery furnace, and Daniel left the lion’s den. Don’t try to blind him; remember how many people Samson killed whilst sightless. There is one remaining way for you: hang Mordechai on a tree. (We see this done to Christ and see how that worked for the evil forces.) Not satisfied with simply advising, Zeresh went with her husband to find the tallest tree in Shushan, which turned out to be quite a thorny specimen. With the tree chosen, the Book of Esther tells us, Haman ran to the king’s palace to discuss his plans to hang Mordechai upon it. Yet, in a divinely orchestrated twist of events, he soon found himself leading Mordechai through the streets of Shushan shouting, “Thus shall be done to the man whom the king wishes to honor!” Returning home, he meets his wife, who tells him, “Since Mordecai, before whom your downfall has started, is of Jewish origin, you cannot stand against him—you will surely fall before him!"
Zeresh’s Legacy

Scripture is silent regarding the end of her life. Tradition tells us that after Haman was hanged on the tree that he had prepared for Mordecai, Zeresh fled in disgrace with his remaining 70 sons. They were reduced to begging from door to door in order to stay alive. We remember Zeresh every year when we sing the poem Shoshanat Yaakov after reading the Megillah. Interestingly, some medieval communities would stamp their feet and make noise when Zeresh’s name was mentioned during the Megillah reading, just as we do today when we hear the name of her wicked husband, Haman. In the book Mechir Yayin, Rabbi Moshe Isserles (known as the Ramah, 1530-1572) describes Zeresh as the embodiment of delusion, whose fantasies of honor and wealth distract a person from the worthwhile pursuits of intellectual enlightenment and divine wisdom.

Feast of Saint Bartholomew[2]


BARTHOLOMEW, of Cana, in Galilee, is probably that Nathaniel WHO was brought to Christ by Philip (John i. 45). Chosen an apostle, he journeyed to India, preached the gospel everywhere, and converted great numbers to Christ. Returning thence, he came, after many labors and sufferings for Christ’s sake, to Greater Armenia, where he converted a great multitude of persons to the faith. At last he was cruelly tormented, flayed alive, and then beheaded by Astyages, brother to the king, at the instigation of the idolatrous priests.

Prayer. Almighty, everlasting God, Who hast granted us a venerable and holy joy on this day, in the festival of Thy blessed apostle Bartholomew, grant to Thy Church, we beseech Thee, both to love what he believed and to preach what he taught. Amen.

EPISTLE, i. Cor. xii. 27-31.

Brethren: You are the body of Christ, and members of member. And God indeed hath set some in the Church, first apostles, secondly prophets, thirdly doctors, after that miracles, then the graces of healings, helps, governments, kinds of tongues, interpretations of speeches. Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all doctors? Are all workers of miracles? Have all the grace of healing? Do all speak with tongues? Do all interpret? But be zealous for the better gifts.

GOSPEL. Luke vi. 12-19.

At that time: Jesus went out into a mountain to pray, and He passed the whole night in the prayer of God. And when day was come, He called unto Him His disciples ; and He chose twelve of them (whom also He named apostles): Simon whom He surnamed Peter, and Andrew his brother, James and John, Philip and Bartholomew, Matthew and Thomas, James the son of Alpheus, and Simon who is called Zelotes, and Jude the brother of James, and Judas Iscariot who was the traitor. And coming down with them, He stood in a plain place, and the company of His disciples, and a very great multitude of people from all Judea and Jerusalem, and the seacoast both of Tyre and Sidon, who were come to hear Him, and to be healed of their diseases. And they that were troubled with unclean spirits were cured. And all the multitude sought to touch Him, for virtue went out from Him, and healed all.

Prayer. O St. Bartholomew, who out of love to Christ didst not only part with thy goods, but didst also endure the most cruel death, pray God for me, a vain child of this world, that for love to my Saviour I may readily and joyfully renounce everything earthly and temporal, crucify my flesh, and become thereby worthy to follow thee in heaven. Amen.

St Bart[3]

The Feast of St. Bartholomew commemorates the life of Jesus' disciple Bartholomew.  It is observed in both the Roman Catholic and Orthodox churches.  St. Bartholomew is thought to have been from Galilee and was probably one of Jesus' first followers. Traditionally, Bartholomew is believed to have been a Jewish law scholar who was a close friend with the apostle Philip. He is credited with converting many to Christianity, in particular in Armenia as well as parts of India and Asia Minor.

St Bartholomew Facts

·         Bartholomew is simply just listed by name in the gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke as well as in Acts.  He is not mentioned in the Gospel of John, but some theologians believe that he is referred to by the name Nathaniel.  Most of the information the church has about Bartholomew/Nathaniel is based on early sermons and writings.
·         In the Gospel of John, Bartholomew (known as Nathaniel) is identified as being from Galilee.  He was one of Jesus' first disciples.
·         Bartholomew is thought to have been martyred in Armenia.  His skin was flayed from his body while he was still alive.
·         St. Bartholomew is the patron saint of Armenia because early church writers placed him there spreading the gospel.
·         Bartholomew is celebrated in the Orthodox Church on June 30.  In the Roman Catholic tradition, his feast day is August 24.

St Bartholomew Top Events and Things to Do

·         Travel to Rome and visit St Bartholomew's relics.  They are thought to be entombed in the basilica, St Bartholomew on the Island (in Rome, Italy).
·         Visit the Sistine Chapel at St. Peter's Basilica in Rome or look at its images online.  St. Bartholomew appears in Michelangelo's "The Last Judgment" with his skin flayed.
·         Gingerbread is a food associated with the St Bartholomew.  Bake some gingerbread men on his feast day.

More Things to Do[4]

·         In Sandwich, Kent, England, there is a St Bartholomew's Bun Race. The Bartlemas Bun Race for children takes place around the chapel of St. Bartholomew's Hospital on this feast day. Each participant receives a currant bun, while the attendants are each given a St Bart's Biscuit, which has an imprint of the hospital's ancient seal.
·         St. Bartholomew's relics are in Rome, in the Church of St. Bartholomew-on-the-Tiber, or San Bartolomeo all'Isola (translated as: St. Bartholomew's on the Island). This site provides some pictures this church.
·         Read the Life of St. Bartholomew from The Golden Legend.
·         Since gingerbread is one food associated with this saint, read this short history of gingerbread.
·         In England St. Bartholomew's day was a harvest feast for shepherds and farmers, celebrating their flocks. Athletic contests before feasting with England's favorite meat: grilled juicy mutton. This feast falls during the grilling season, so why not serve something from the barbecue.

Shaslik[5]

Is a traditional seasoned grilled meat for the Feast of St. Bart. While stationed in Belgium many years ago with my young daughter Nicole there were none of the American fast food places in close vicinity, but there were frites stands. Nicole loved Belgium frites, which are “French Fries” with an attitude. We used to joke that someday we will open our own Frite stand and on the placard, we would proudly proclaim the name of our stand, “DICK AND NIC’S FRITES AND SHASLIKS”.



Daily Devotions
·         Drops of Christ’s Blood
·         Battle for the Soul of America-Day 10



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