Rabbi’s Reflections – Friday, January 29, 2021

(Early) Shabbat Shalom,

S P E C I A L   A N N O U N C E M E N T 

Tonight is the night!!!  Friday night, January 29th we will have a Kabbalat Shabbat (Welcoming the Sabbath) service.  There will be a covered dish dinner beginning at 6pm, (you cover the dish and bring it to share) followed by a worship service beginning at 7.  

There will be no service or classes on the following Saturday morning.  We are doing this on every 5th Saturday (there is one per quarter) so that we get a taste of the Erev Shabbat (Friday night) liturgy.  

The Kabbalat Shabbat liturgy is a beautiful blend of the Psalms (mostly in the ‘90s) and hymns written by the rabbis that express our appreciation to God, Who loved us enough to give us the Shabbat.  The preeminent hymn is L’cha Dodi (to you, my beloved), written in the 16th century by Rabbi Shlomo Halevi Alkabetz.

The Shabbat is nicknamed “Queen of the days.”  The Shabbat is like royalty that does no work.  In fact, the other six days exist to serve the Shabbat.  The last verse of L’cha Dodi has been used as lyrics to a popular wedding tune.  Here is the translation and a link to Ya’akov Shwekey’s version.  

Come in peace, crown of her husband

Both, in happiness and in jubilation

Within the faithful, treasured people

Come O bride, come O bride.



Rabbi’s Rant:  It’s official… according to me, the Knox News Sentinel (Knoxville’s daily newspaper) is a liberal rag of a newspaper that should be refused as bird cage liner by any self-respecting bird.  (Thank you, Rabbi)  

It is owned by the Gannett organization which also owns USA Today and many other newspapers around the country.  Last year they fired most of their local staff so that now, many of the stories are now just copied and pasted from other Gannett owned newspapers.  I find their stories to be incomplete reporting and very one-sided.  They regularly publish half-truths and stories that leave more questions than answers.  If I could figure out how to write a letter to the editor, I would.

I’m not just complaining here.  I’m asking if any of you RR readers (who obviously know good literature when you read it) has a solution.  I’ve even thought about publishing the Anti-KNS newspaper myself, to refute the lies I read in the KNS, or at least point them out.  If I were a younger man… aaaahhhh, but I’m not.  Once, I even tried to cancel my online subscription, but the lady was very well trained.  She apologized for having a lousy paper and was so nice when she asked me not to leave that I stayed.   Now what am I going to do?  I just can’t bring myself to read it anymore.  End the Rant.


Bonus #10 in a series on Psalm 112 (this is the last verse, so there will not be a Bonus #11).  Psalm 112:10 The wicked will see it and be indignant. He will gnash with his teeth and waste away. The desire of the wicked will perish.  While the righteous man is enjoying the benefits of sowing in righteousness, what is happening to the wicked?  

The Hebrew word translated as “indignant” (Ka’as) can also mean demoralized, vexed and provoked to anger.  The next thing that happens to the wicked is his heart melts.  That’s what is meant by “waste away.”  Then finally, what the wicked wants is destroyed (Avad).  Destroyed, perished, and annihilated are the desires and delights of the wicked.

The conclusion of Psalm 112 draws a clear distinction between the righteous and the wicked.  They breathe the same air, live on the same street, but there is no similarity whatsoever.  The righteous have goodness and mercy described in the first 9 verses.  The wicked are demoralized and destroyed as his heart melts.  There is nothing similar about that.  Choose for yourself wisely, my friends.


Daily Bread, reading plan by Lars Enarson (https://www.thewatchman.org/)

Fri 29-Jan-2021 16th of Sh’vat, 5781

Ex 16:11-36 2 Ki 1-2 Ps 120-121 Jn 6:1-36 (2 Th 3)

We learn in today’s Torah reading (Aliyah) all about manna.  Manna is what the people called it.  It means “portion.”  Manna was always portioned out properly.  Strange thing though, it could not be kept overnight except on Friday.  Then, just because it was Shabbat, it would not rot when kept over night on Friday. 

Today, we also read the first two chapters of 2nd Kings.  In the first chapter, we read about the prophetic nature of Elijah, who prophesied the death of king Ahaziah.  In the second chapter, we read of the relationship between Elijah and Elisha.  I am intrigued by this relationship.

The whole second chapter records the journey of Elijah, from Beth El to Jericho and on to the Jordan River.  After crossing “through” the Jordan on dry land, Elijah is taken up in a chariot of fire.  Then Elisha picks up Elijah’s mantle and retraces his steps.  Back through the parted waters of the Jordan, to Jericho (where he heals the bitter waters) and on to Beth El where 2 mama bears maul the 42 boys who were mocking Elisha.

I’m sure there is a spiritual message behind these events.  One level of understanding is that it is the retelling of the wilderness experience of Moses and the children of Israel.  The waters parted (both at the Red Sea and at the Jordan), the bitter waters were made sweet (Moses threw in a tree and Elisha threw in salt), and finally, the ancient Israelites (who were mockers) were bitten by snakes and smitten by other diseases.  Those who mocked Elisha were smitten by angry bears.  

Yeshua was taken from us similarly to Elijah being taken up from Elisha. And just like Elisha kept his eyes on Elijah, we too, should keep our eyes on Yeshua.  Luke 24:50 Then Yeshua led them out as far as Bethany, and He lifted up His hands and blessed them. 51 And while blessing them, He departed from them and was taken up into heaven.  

And we too, just like Elisha, must pass the same tests, following the pattern of our Lord, who led a sacrificial life to the glory of God our Father.  John 14:12 “Amen, amen I tell you, he who puts his trust in Me, the works that I do he will do; and greater than these he will do, because I am going to the Father. 13 And whatever you ask in My name, that I will do, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son.  May we also experience the double portion of Elisha.  Blessings my friends.

Week 5

Memory Verse: Ephesians 3:20 Now to Him who is able to do far beyond all that we ask or imagine, by means of His power that works in us, 21 to Him be the glory in the community of believers and in Messiah Yeshua throughout all generations forever and ever! Amen.

21   1/25     Monday:         Genesis 39-40

22   1/26.    Tuesday:        Genesis 41

23   1/27     Wednesday:   Genesis 42-43 

24   1/28     Thursday:       Genesis 44-45

* 25 1/29     Friday:            Genesis 46-47

Question of the day:  This is a tough one.  Ma Nishma (What do we hear)?

Answer:  The two chapters read easy enough.  In chapter 46, Jacob is on his way to live in Egypt when God appears to him yet again with prophetic promises.  Jacob arrives in Egypt and meets Pharaoh under the most favorable conditions.  

Then in chapter 47, Joseph is always a step ahead of the people.  The famine continues and money runs out, so Joseph takes the livestock for Pharaoh, as payment.  Then the livestock runs out, so Joseph takes the land for Pharaoh.  The people agree to serve Pharaoh with 20% of their harvest with no end in sight.  

Let me pause here with a thought.  I’ve shared it before, but it’s been awhile.  Simply stated the principle is, “Put God first.”  That might seem trite, but it has profound implications.  When we put God first, He puts everything else in order.  When we put God first, He makes time and resources available for everything else.  

Matthew 6:33 But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.