Rabbi’s Reflections – Thursday, October 17, 2019 

Shalom *|FNAME|*,


Four special services in four special days (Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday) as we close out the fall Feasts of the Lord.

Erev Shabbat – This Friday night (Sukkot) we begin with dinner at 6 followed by a service at 7.  The theme is camping (dwelling in the Sukkah is a lot like camping), so please bring something to share that you would eat on a campout.  The congregation will be supplying the smoked brisket.  No need to RSVP.  All are invited.

Shabbat Morning – There will be nothing usual about our usual Shabbat morning worship service at 10:30.  This Shabbat is a double blessing.  It is Sukkot and Carlton Taylor’s Bar Mitzvah.  There will be a parade of nations including prayer for the nations in honor of the prophesy of Zechariah 14:16.  Then, Carlton will prove its never too late.  47 years after he turned 13, Carlton is becoming a “son of the commandment.”  Simchot (rejoicing) all the way around.

Hoshana Raba – We will have a special service on Sunday night at 6pm to honor the end of the 7th day of Sukkot, Hoshana Raba (the great salvation).  Then we begin the 8th day celebration, Shemini Atzeret, at the same time.  This is commanded in Leviticus 23:39.  Out of nowhere, the 7 days of Sukkot gets an 8th day add-on.  

Part of this service includes marching with our Lulav and Etrog behind the Torah 7 times around the synagogue (hakafot), sounding the Shofar at the end of each round.  This ceremony has its origins from the days of Temple worship when the priests would lead the people similarly.  It marks the end of the season of repentance.  (Psalm 26:6 I will wash my hands in innocence, so I can walk around Your altar, Adonai,)

Simchat Torah – Then on Monday night at 7pm we will finish reading the Torah and roll it back to the beginning.  Immediately, we will start our reading cycle all over again.  It is a time of great rejoicing.  Everyone who would like will have a chance to carry the Torah.  We have a number of little ones for the children, so please bring the children to this happy time of celebrating the Word of God.

Week 42
Memory Verse: 1 Corinthians 13:13 But now these three remain— faith, hope, and love. And the greatest of these is love.

206   10/14    Monday:         1 Corinthians 5-6

207   10/15    Tuesday:        1 Corinthians 7-8

208   10/16    Wednesday:  1 Corinthians 9-10

* 209 10/17    Thursday:      1 Corinthians 11-12

210   10/18    Friday:           1 Corinthians 13-14

Question of the day:  Consider this verse from today’s reading… 

1 Corinthians 11:4 Every man praying or prophesying with his head covered dishonors his head.

How is it that men continue to wear head coverings (called Kippot in Hebrew and Yamakahs in Yiddish) when the Scripture couldn’t be clearer?

Answer:  This is the danger of taking verses or part of verses out of context.  That’s why we read… 2 Timothy 2:15 Make every effort to present yourself before God as tried and true, as an unashamed worker cutting a straight path with the word of truth.

Now let’s look at the context.  We only need to look at the previous verse.  1 Corinthians 11:3 But I want you to know that the head of every man is Messiah, and the head of the woman is the man, and the head of Messiah is God.

What’s that?  “The head of every man is Messiah!”  If we pray “covering up” Messiah, we dishonor Messiah Yeshua.  Did the light bulb come on?  We pray in the name (by the power of the authority) of the Savior and Lord, Yeshua.

Paul is consistent with this interpretation regarding women who are told to pray with their heads covered.  No woman should pray to her husband (who is her head), but should cover him up (not pray to him) when praying.

All of the foregoing interpretation notwithstanding, Paul does seem to emphasize the physical nature of covering (or not covering) the head in the verses that follow which deal extensively with hair cuts.

Then Paul offers in verse 16 a special word not to fight about it.

Paul’s next subject in 1 Corinthians 11 is how (and how often) to take communion.  Did you think I would let this go without comment?  Communion is central to the life of our Shomair community.    Paul actually provides some liturgy for us.

1 Corinthians 11:23 For I received from the Lord what I also passed on to you—that the Lord Yeshua, on the night He was betrayed, took matzah; 24 and when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, “This is My body, which is for you. Do this in memory of Me.”25 In the same way, He also took the cup, after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in My blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in memory of Me.”26 For as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until He comes.

Following this is the warning not to eat unless we first examine ourselves.  The reason is simple.  The power of God (creator of the universe) is in the bread and cup of communion.  If we have unrepented sin in our lives and partake of communion in that sinful state, then our sin is empowered which can make us sick or even kill us.  

Now I want to end this RR on a happy note.  The following chapter, 1 Corinthians 12, is instruction for moving in the gifts of the Spirit.  The emphasis is that we are all gifted in a special way to bring our gifting to the body of Messiah.  

If we think the body of Messiah is dysfunctional, perhaps God has uniquely gifted us to assist in perfecting that function, so that His body will be made whole, without blemish, spot or wrinkle.  The body of Messiah needs you.  And that, my friends, is a happy note.