Rabbi’s Reflections – Friday, November 15, 2019 

(Early) Shabbat Shalom *|FNAME|*,

Rabbi Trail:  Why do I say “Early Shabbat Shalom” to start the Friday RR?  Well, it’s distributed on Thursday night.  While it is customary to say “Shabbat Shalom” anytime you see someone on Friday, it is unusual to say that on Thursday.  Just like it would be unusual to say have a nice weekend on to someone on Wednesday.  So it depends on when you read this as to whether it is early or not.  End RT. 

I want to drill down into this verse… Matthew 24:42 Therefore stay alert; for you do not know what day your Lord is coming.

When I was in Israel last summer, I bought myself another copy of the “Sefer HaBritot” (Book of the Covenants), also known as the Hebrew -English Bible.  I’ve bought this same book before, but have not seen my previous copied in many years.  So I broke down and bought another one.  It costs about $100, so it’s an investment.

It is very useful.  One of the great benefits is to see which Hebrew words were chosen to express the New Testament in Hebrew.  I’ll pick this up on the other side of a couple of huge Rabbi Trails.

Rabbi Trail:  When I lived in Texas in the early ’90’s, I used to study with Rabbi Joseph (his last name).  Rabbi Joseph was an amazing character.  In the late 1930’s as a youngster, he was send away from Germany to Shanghai (there was a huge orthodox Jewish community there) by his parents.  That’s how he survived the Holocaust.  

His studies in Shanghai earned him a certification in Hebrew grammar.  Although he didn’t have a great voice, he also became known as a Ba’al Koray (litterally, “Master of the call”).  This means that he knew all 6 of the trope (Yiddish for cantillations – notes for singing Hebrew Scripture).  

When Rabbi Joseph died about 25 years ago, we lost a treasure.  One day we were visiting in his study when he reached up into his bookshelf and opened a small black Hebrew New Testament.  He looked at me and said, “It makes so much more sense in the original.” 

Last I heard his wife had become a believer along with his daughter and grandchildren.  His son is a traditional orthodox rabbi in Dallas.  As far as I know he has not yet embraced the faith of Yeshua.  End RT.

Another Rabbi Trail: The six different trope (types of tunes) are for: 

  1. Torah
  2. High Holiday Torah 
  3. Haftarah
  4. Esther
  5. Lamentations
  6. The 3 pilgrimage festivals have 3 books that are read in the same tune; Song of Songs (Passover), Ruth (Shavuot), and Ecclesiastes (Sukkot).   

End ART.

In our subject verse (Matthew 24:42), what Hebrew word did the translators use for “Stay Alert?”  That’s right, a form of Shomair (HaMishmor).  The same shoresh (Hebrew 3 letter root), shin-mem-resh, is used for the word police and what is known in English as the “home guard” (reserves who step up when regular public servants are called up to active military service during times of national emergency).

This is also the first name of our congregation.  Yisrael is our last name (family name).  We didn’t get this name by accident, but by divine appointment.  

Isaiah 62:6 On your walls, Jerusalem, I have set watchmen. All day and all night, they will never hold their peace. “You who remind Adonai, take no rest for yourselves, 7 And give Him no rest until He establishes and makes Jerusalem a praise in the earth.

This describes our divine assignment.  “Give God no rest…” through our prayers, remind Adonai.  Don’t miss this.  It’s a little long.

Luke 18:1 Then Yeshua told them a parable to show that they should always pray and not be discouraged, 2 He said, “There was a judge in a certain city who neither feared God nor respected people. 3 And there was a widow in that city who kept coming to him, saying, ‘Give me justice against my opponent.’ 4 “He was unwilling at the time. But afterward he said to himself, ‘Although I don’t fear God or respect people, 5 yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will give her justice so she won’t wear me out by her incessant coming.’” 6 Then the Lord said, “Hear what the unjust judge is saying. 7 Won’t God do justice for His chosen ones, who cry out to Him day and night? Will He be slow to help them? 8 I tell you, He will quickly give them justice. But when the Son of Man comes, will He find faith on the earth?”

God is the judge.  Be that widow.

Week 46
Memory Verse: 2 Corinthians 4:7 But we have this treasure in jars of clay, so that the surpassing greatness of the power may be from God and not from ourselves. 8 We are hard pressed in every way, yet not crushed; perplexed, yet not in despair; 9 persecuted, yet not forsaken; struck down, yet not destroyed; 10 always carrying in the body the death of Yeshua, so that the life of Yeshua may also be revealed in our mortal body.

226   11/11    Monday:        Acts 20-21

227   11/12    Tuesday:       Acts 22-23

228   11/13    Wednesday: Acts 24-25

229   11/14    Thursday:     Acts 26-27

* 230 11/15    Friday:          Acts 28

Question of the day:  The first thing we learn in Acts 28 is that Paul is from Tennessee.  He is the original snake handler.  Seriously, we learn that Paul is zealous for Jewish souls even though that is the reason he is a prisoner.  

One of the words for jail is penitentiary.  Do you see the word “penitent” within it?  Penitent means to repent.  Some jails were established to give the law breaker (sinner) time and a place to repent.  It was expected that prisoners would reform, leave a life of crime, and become useful in society.  

In Paul’s case, he had done nothing to be repentant of.  So he continued his witness to Jewish people and to non-Jewish people.  He was faithful in continuing his walk with God.  May each of us walk as Paul walked; sharing the good news, praying for those in need, and seeing God be manifest in signs and wonders.  Amen.