Rabbi’s Reflections – Thursday, March 4, 2021


Rabbi Trail:  Uuugggh!!! If one more person says to me “march forth,” I think my head will explode.  What’s worse than a bad pun?  A bad pun that’s repeated.  END RT.

Daily Bread, reading plan by Lars Enarson (https://www.thewatchman.org/)

Thu 4 March-2021 20th of Adar, 5781

Ex 34:1-9 Isa 10 Pr 8 Ac 7:30-60 (Rev 1)

In the Aliyah (Torah reading) today, we find Moses on the other side of the sin of the golden calf.  Exodus 34:6 Then Adonai passed before him, and proclaimed, “Adonai, Adonai, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, and abundant in lovingkindness and truth, 7a showing mercy to a thousand generations, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin. 

The quote of these words Moses heard proclaimed have become a well known piece of liturgy as part of the Torah service.  These words contain the 13 attributes of God.  http://images.shulcloud.com/618/uploads/PDFs/Divrei_Torah/attributesofgod.pdf  Curiously, in traditional Judaism it is never prayed during a Torah service on a regular weekly Shabbat.  It is part of the Torah service on special holidays and actually read from the Torah on public fast days (such as the Fast of Esther). 

Rabbi Trail:  Why is it not chanted on a regular weekly Shabbat?  I checked with my friend Cantor Moishe Bear (you may remember his visit to Shomair last summer), and he told me.  This verse is considered an intense personal petition (we speak these words when we realize we need God to save us), therefore; it’s is considered too intense for a regular Shabbat.  However; it is prayed (as I said) on Special holidays and occasions.  On a regular Shabbat the rabbis have structured our prayers around our corporate needs.  We pray as the people of God, the children of Israel.  Every other day, we can pray for individual needs.  I believe this is the prayer of a consecrated heart and is appropriate anytime.  End RT. 

The proclamation, as stated in our subject verse, that God is “the God of compassion and grace” is no surprise to Moses or to us.  The Hebrew words are “Rachum” (compassion) and “Chanun“ (graciousness).  Our subject verse yesterday described God using both of these exact words, only in reverse order (grace and mercy).  Exodus 33:19 So He said, “I will cause all My goodness to pass before you, and call out the Name of Adonai before you. I will be gracious toward whom I will be gracious, and I will show mercy on whom I will be merciful.

And yet, while both of these words (Rachum and Chanun) can be translated as “grace,” the best Hebrew word for the eternal grace we find in the New Covenant is found still later in Exodus 34:7a and is translated “lovingkindness.” The Hebrew word is “Chesed” (frequently in the form “Chasdo” meaning “His grace.”  It is used about 300 times in the Hebrew Scriptures, so don’t ever let anyone tell you that the Law is opposed to grace.  Grace and Truth (Law) are perfectly compatible with the faith of Yeshua.  

Let’s lift up a prayer for the salvation of Jewish people.  Father, as the children of Israel pray liturgical prayers of adoration to You, open the eyes of their understanding (by removing the scales of blindness) that Adonai and Yeshua are One.  Bring the fulness of Your people, Israel, into Your kingdom of faithful followers of Yeshua, in Whose name we pray.  Amen.

Week 10

Memory Verse: Deuteronomy 31:7 Then Moses summoned Joshua and said to him in the sight of all Israel, “Be strong! Be courageous! For you are to go with this people into the land Adonai has sworn to their fathers to give them, and you are to enable them to inherit it. 8 Adonai—He is the One who goes before you. He will be with you. He will not fail you or abandon you. Do not fear or be discouraged.”

46   3/01    Monday:         Leviticus 23

47   3/02    Tuesday:        Leviticus 26

48   3/03    Wednesday:  Numbers 11-12

*49 3/04    Thursday:      Numbers 13-14

50   3/05    Friday:           Numbers 16-17

Question of the day:  Whom will you believe?

Answer:  There is a good report and a bad report.  Moses sent 12 spies.  

Rabbi Trail:  The Hebrew word for “spy out, seek out, and explore” is “Tur” (Tav-Vav-Resh).  Could this be where our English word “tour” comes from?  End RT. 

Ten of the spies brought back an evil report, while only 2 (Caleb and Joshua) brought back a good report.  What follows is another sad episode in the collective life of the children of Israel during their desert wanderings.  God propositions Moses, stating that He is willing to start over with Moses, but Moses pleads for the Lord to relent.

At this point, Moses quotes back to God what he heard as the Lord appeared to him (as described earlier in this RR).  Numbers 14:18 “Adonai is slow to anger and abundant in lovingkindness, forgiving iniquity and transgression.”

So, now that we have set the stage, let’s answer the question of the day.  We follow Yeshua, Who does not judge by the sight of His eyes (Isaiah 11).  We also must seek the Lord in every matter.  Isaiah 55:6 Seek Adonai while He may be found, call on Him while He is near.

At every occasion, we must press in to hear from God.  Let’s pray… Lord, give us courage for follow after Your own heart, and not our own will.  In Yeshua’s name. Amen. 

This takes us to a verse from the next chapter about tzit-tzit (fringes)…  Numbers 15:38 “Speak to Bnei-Yisrael. Say to them that they are to make for themselves  tzitzit on the corners of their garments throughout their generations, and they are to put a blue cord on each tzitzit. 39 It will be your own tzitzit—so whenever you look at them, you will remember all the mitzvot of Adonai and do them and not go spying out after your own hearts and your own eyes, prostituting yourselves.

Let’s believe the good report and rest in our obedience to God’s will.