Rabbi’s Reflections – Friday, October 25, 2019 

(Early) Shabbat Shalom *|FNAME|*,


This is a special Shabbat.  Mark Smith will be celebrating his Bar Mitzvah.  This is very special to Mark, and to us because we love Mark.  So we will celebrate this milestone in his life together with him and his beloved Chris.


Headline: “Dems Intend To Withhold Aid To Israel”. This might seem like it is political, but it isn’t.  It is existential to Israel.  Here is the website link with the whole story.  https://israelunwired.com/democratic-presidential-candidates-call-to-withhold-aid-to-israel/

“Is this really what Democratic presidential candidates are focusing on? They clearly are oblivious to what goes on in Israel. They clearly do not believe that Israel has a right to build in its own homeland. And they clearly do not see the danger Israel would face living side by side with a “Palestinian” terror state.”  By Leah Rosenberg

Yeshua appeared to His disciples after His crucifixion in the Galilee on several occasions before His ascension on the 40th day.  The third time He appeared to them is recorded in John 21.  Read it now like it’s the first time.

Great story isn’t it?  Why did they catch 153 fish?  Is there anything in the Bible that could be characterized as accidental?  I think not.  God is very intentional about His Word.  So, back to 153 fish… why that number?

Well, I’ve almost driven myself crazy (no jokes here please) this afternoon trying to answer that question.  I’ve read the details of more than a dozen websites who all promised to report the answer.  

There appears to be no universally accepted answer.  It does seem rather specific though.  Why bother counting and recording the exact number of fish if there is no meaning attached?  

I’m aware (now) of all the speculation.  The connection to the Ezekiel 47 vision.  That there are 153 dots in an equilateral triangle with a base of 17.  And so forth.

Maybe after fishing all night and catching zero fish they caught so many they just wanted to count them to add credibility to the “fish story.”  So the story goes like this.  

Apostles:  “We caught a lot of fish.”

By stander: “Really, I don’t believe you.”

Apostles:  “Yes, we counted them.  There were 153 to be exact.”

By stander:  “That’s a great miracle.  None all night and then 153 in one throw of the net.”

Wait a minute, wait a minute.  I get it.  The writer wanted to drive me crazy.  Mission accomplished.  I found that answer, and I give it the most credibility.  Anyway, we might not have looked closely at this story if not for the 153.

I’m giving Henry David Thoreau the last word today.  Maybe this came to him on Walden Pond.  “Many men go fishing all of their lives without knowing that it is not fish they are after.”

Week 43
Memory Verse: 1 Corinthians 15:3 For I also passed on to you first of all what I also received— that Messiah died for our sins according to the Scriptures, 4 that He was buried, that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures,

211   10/21    Monday:         1 Corinthians 15-16

212   10/22    Tuesday:        2 Corinthians 1-2

213   10/23    Wednesday:  2 Corinthians 3-4

214   10/24    Thursday:      2 Corinthians 5-6

* 215 10/25    Friday:           2 Corinthians 7-8

Question of the day:  Do we understand the assignment being given to us through this verse?  2 Corinthians 7:1 Therefore, since we have these promises, loved ones, let us cleanse ourselves from all defilement of body and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.

Answer:  Let’s break it down.  What promises do we have?  We better back up to chapter 6.  There is a call to come out from among them and be separate.  2 Corinthians 6:14b …For what partnership is there between righteousness and lawlessness?…

Our subject verse (2 Corinthians 7:1) gives us the assignment, saying the same thing twice.  We have a calling (assignment) to cleanse ourselves from all defilement of body and spirit.  That is further explained in the following phrase, “Perfecting holiness in the fear of the God.”

Perfection is a lofty goal and most likely unattainable.  Does that mean we should not pursue it?  By no means.  And how is this done?  Psalm 34:15 Depart from evil and do good. Seek shalom and pursue it.

What is “Shalom?”  (I know I’ve taught you this before.)  It is not the usual English translation “peace” or “hello and goodbye.”  It means wholeness, perfection, lacking nothing, complete.  That last one grabs me.  We are complete in Him.  Colossians 2:10a and in Him you have been filled to fullness.

What are we perfecting?  Oh yes, holiness!  What does that mean?    Both holiness and sanctification mean being set apart (in this context) for service to God.  

Rabbi Trail:  Seeking “Shalom” is a journey, not a destination.  It’s like being a good student.  A good student proves it every day.  It would be foolish to wait until graduation day to learn if you are a good student.  Perfecting holiness is a daily quest in the journey of life.  End RT.

We are perfecting our walk with God.  We are perfecting our testimony.  We are perfecting our lives so that His glory will shine forth through us.  Isaiah 60:1 Arise, shine, for your light has come! The glory of Adonai has risen on you…. 3 Nations will come to your light, kings to the brilliance of your rising.

The end of Matthew 5 seems to tie perfection to being kind to the unkind.  Matthew 5 ends with these words… 47 And if you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than anyone else? Even the pagans do that, don’t they? 48 Therefore be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect.”

My point here is that this is doable as a pursuit.  It was never intended as a destination.  Enjoy the ride.