Rabbi’s Reflections – Saturday, October 5, 2019
Shabbat Shalom *|FNAME|*,
Did I just greet you with “Shabbat Shalom?” Well then, what Shabbat is it? This Shabbat has two names. It has the name of the Torah portion we will read (Deuteronomy 31) and a special name because it is the Shabbat between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur (there is always one but interestingly enough never two, even though there are 10 days in between them).
The Torah portion this week is named “VaYelech” meaning “And he (Moses) went.” VaYelech is the first Hebrew word of Deuteronomy 31. It uses the “vav conversive” which is a convention that the Torah uses to flip a word from future tense to past tense (like this one). It can also flip a past tense word into the future tense, but far less often. It does this by adding the Hebrew letter “vav” to the front of any verb. It is proof that God is not time constrained.
Rabbi Trail: The third Torah portion of Genesis (which we will read in about 6 weeks) is Lech-L’cha which uses the same Hebrew shoresh (3 letter root), Hay-Lamed-Kaf. This is when God tells Abram to get up and go. It really means “to walk around” because in biblical times that is how people went anywhere. End RT.
The other name for this Shabbat is “Shabbat Shuvah.” It means “Sabbath of repentance.” This is the name of the one Shabbat each year that falls between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. Of course we are encouraged to repent quickly and often, but this is a special season of intense repentance both toward God and man.
Shuv means to turn. T’shuvah is repentance in that it calls for a change of direction. Do you know which direction? We were going away from God, but we turn so that we are now going toward God. Repentance always brings us closer to God. None of us is ever closer to God that when we have repentant hearts.
Repentance requires change. And our natural tendency is to resist change. The life of the follower of Yeshua involves a lifetime of change. Remember, I taught you recently in a previous RR how change is more or less difficult? We decide how much more or less difficult by our attitude.
When I took Karate lessons…
Rabbi Trail: Yes, hard to imagine me breaking boards. And hard to imagine me with anything but a white belt. Well, it’s not an imagination, I only ever had a white belt. I took Karate lessons for about 6 weeks during the summer between my freshman and sophomore years of college and that’s all I ever got. You get a white belt with your gi. In my six weeks of lessons, all I learned was how to get hurt. My favorite words were “Itai” and “Itai mu,” meaning “I feel pain” and “I feel pain more.” End RT.
… you could earn up to 5 points for each lesson. They gave you one point if you performed your technique perfectly and 4 points if you did it with a good attitude. God also cares about attitude. Everything is an affair of the heart with God, and He alone is a discerner of the heart.
Maybe Yoda was wrong when he told Luke Skywalker, “No such thing as try, only do.” God knows if we are trying and He loves for us to serve Him (and each other) with a right attitude.
Do you know this song? I’ll sing it for you sometime.
1 John 4:7 Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God. 8 He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.
Shabbat Shuvah Shalom.