I am so excited to share with you an idea I had for a new tradition in our home. The memorial jar is a great way to create our own record of what YHVH has done for us as individuals and as a family.
I was inspired by Joshua 4, so I would like to share those verses first.
And it came to pass, when all the people were clean passed over Jordan, that YHVH spake unto Joshua, saying,
Take you twelve men out of the people, out of every tribe a man,
And command ye them, saying, Take you hence out of the midst of Jordan, out of the place where the priests’ feet stood firm, twelve stones, and ye shall carry them over with you, and leave them in the lodging place, where ye shall lodge this night.
Then Joshua called the twelve men, whom he had prepared of the children of Israel, out of every tribe a man:
And Joshua said unto them, Pass over before the ark of YHVH your Elohim into the midst of Jordan, and take ye up every man of you a stone upon his shoulder, according unto the number of the tribes of the children of Israel:
That this may be a sign among you, that when your children ask their fathers in time to come, saying, What mean ye by these stones?
Then ye shall answer them, That the waters of Jordan were cut off before the ark of the covenant of YHVH; when it passed over Jordan, the waters of Jordan were cut off: and these stones shall be for a memorial unto the children of Israel for ever.
And the children of Israel did so as Joshua commanded, and took up twelve stones out of the midst of Jordan, as YHVH spake unto Joshua, according to the number of the tribes of the children of Israel, and carried them over with them unto the place where they lodged, and laid them down there.
And Joshua set up twelve stones in the midst of Jordan, in the place where the feet of the priests which bare the ark of the covenant stood: and they are there unto this day.
Joshua was instructed to set up a memorial for the children of Israel. Those twelve stones were to be a physical reminder of the miracle of crossing the Jordan River. We see physical reminders of YHVH’s miracles all throughout Scripture. The food we eat at Passover reminds us of the deliverance from Egypt. Our tzizits remind us to obey the commands. We celebrate Purim and Hanukah to keep the memory of those amazing events alive. We do all this so that our children will know who YHVH is. They will know what He has done for Israel. Joshua set up memorial stones so that parents could answer their children’s questions. We would do well to follow his example, and set up physical memorials for our own children. Then we will have physical records of what YHVH has done for us.
My idea was to create a memorial jar to fill with memories of what YHVH has done for us. This can include answered prayer, blessings, things we are thankful for, and simple praise for YHVH. I thought it would be cool to start on Purim, basically adding this to our personal traditions for Purim. Purim is a day of remembrance, celebrating the tremendous delivery and victory given to the Israelites in Persia. While YHVH’s name is never mentioned in the book of Esther, His hand is undeniable. I want my children to be told this amazing story so that they can see YHVH’s heart and His love for life, particularly the lives of His people.
The concept is simple. Get a big jar (we used a gallon jar) or some sort of container that you can decorate and fill. You can get a printable sign to put on your jar at the bottom of this post. We colored the signs, taped three of them on the jar, and saved the rest for bookmarks. Then we took scraps of paper and starting writing things down to put in the jar. One person wrote how they were thankful for the newborn lambs and how well they are doing. A young child wrote how they love YHVH because He is so nice. Let your children express their hearts on paper, and then simply put it in the jar. You can wait to read it later, or read it before you put it in, your choice. If you need to write for young children, be sure to put their name on it. You might also consider dating your entries.
We plan to add to our jar at least on every Shabbat, so that we have a definite time to remember. Next year on Purim, we will dump the jar out and read the slips of paper. I think it is going to be pretty exciting to see all that YHVH is going to do this year. Would you like to set up something like this for your family? How else might you set up memorials for your children, to teach them about YHVH and His amazing deeds?
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