Rabbi’s Reflections – Friday, January 26, 2024
(Early) Shabbat Shalom,

The Lessons Of Job, part 3
Can we be blameless like Job?

The Bible says in the very first verse of the first chapter that Job was “blameless.”  Job 1:1 There was a man in the land of Uz whose name was Job. Now that man was blameless and upright; he feared God and shunned evil.  Today I want to explain what it means to be “blameless.”  When God call us to the blameless life, is He presenting an impossible demand?  After all, Romans 3:23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.  Which is it?  To quote Glenn Blank, (who leads our fellow Tikkun congregation in Allentown, PA) “Yes, both!!!”

The simple Hebrew word, translated as “blameless,” is “Tam” (Tav-Mem Sofit).  Sounds simple enough, but it isn’t.  It’s a very complex word that takes on many forms.  One source defines it as “Wholeness, perfection, innocence, simplicity, integrity, honesty.”  Then, the same source, puts it together (hyphenated) with the word for heart (Tam-Lev) meaning, “Sincerely” or “good intentions.”

Rabbi Trail: You’ve heard of the Urim and Thumim of the breast plate of the High Priest.  Exodus 28:30 Also put the Urim and the Thummim within the breastplate of judgment, so they will be on Aaron’s heart when he goes in before Adonai.  The word “Thummim” is derived from our blameless word “Tam.”  “Urim” comes from Ohr, the word for light.Without going into detail (mostly because not a lot is known about them), the Urim and Thummim were given by God to help the people know the way of righteousness by shining the “light of innocence” as God answered inquiries from the High Priest.  End RT.

The command to be blameless comes to us from father Abraham.  Genesis 17:1 When Abram was ninety-nine years old the LORD appeared to Abram and said to him, “I am God Almighty; walk before me, and be blameless.  You might say, “That’s a long way from father Abraham to us.”  Not really… Ephesians 1:4 even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him.

God identifies Job as “blameless,” but that doesn’t mean he was perfect.  He may have done a lot of things right, but not everything.  For example, he regrets the day he was born.  Job 3:1 After this Job opened his mouth and cursed the day of his birth.  I’m pretty sure unthankfulness is a sin, the Bible is full of the commandment to be thankful.  For instance… 1Thessalonians 5:18 in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Messiah Yeshua.

So being blameless does not mean being without sin.  The lesson to be learned here (but has not yet been mentioned) is to be quick to repent.  Revelation 3:19 Those whom I love, I rebuke and discipline. Therefore, be zealous and repent.  Make no mistake, repentance is not feeling sorry you got caught, nor is it feeling guilty.  It is a change of direction.  The Hebrew word “T’shuvah” has a connotation of turning around or changing direction.

We may have done something to separate us from God, but our repentance results in a change of direction which finds us closer to God than before.  My rabbi used to say, “If you’re going to fall, fall toward the cross.”  Ultimately, we will learn that Job comes through his trial closer to God than ever before.  Shalom shalom.

Daily Bread, reading plan by Lars Enarson (https://www.thewatchman.org/)
16 Sh’vat Friday 26-Jan-24
Exodus 16:11-36 1 Kings 6 Psalm 97 Luke 22:1-38 1 Thessalonians 2