Rabbi’s Reflections – Thursday, January 7, 2021


Bonus (#2 in a series):  

“.לֶךְ-לְךָ מֵאַרְצְךָ וּמִמּוֹלַדְתְּךָ וּמִבֵּית אָבִיךָ, אֶל-הָאָרֶץ, אֲשֶׁר אַרְאֶךָּ”   

Lech-l’cha May’artzecha U’Mi’molad’t’cha U’Mi’Bayt Avicha, El-Ha’aretz, Asher Ar’e’cha.

Genesis 12:1 Then Adonai said to Abram, “Get going out from your land, and from your relatives, and from your father’s house, to the land that I will show you.”

The second word (connected by a hyphen to the first word) is spelled, in Hebrew, exactly the same as the first word, but is totally different in etymology and meaning.  This makes them homographs, but not just homographs.  Because they are spelled the same (with different meanings) but also pronounced differently, they are also heteronyms.  (I just don’t want you walking around without understanding these things.)

Rabbi’s note:  In Hebrew, we do our spelling with the consonants (there are 22 of them, 5 of the 22 have a “final” form, meaning they change shape when they end a word).  The vowel points were added later to assist those who didn’t know how to pronounce what they were reading.  In Israel (where the population knows what they are reading – for the most part) vowel points are not necessary.  The consonants of these two words are identical, “Lamed – final Kaf.”  End RN.  

“L’cha” literally means “to you” as spoken to one male.  God is saying, “Hey Abram, this is for you.”  And what is “for” Abram?  The first word, God’s command to get up and go.  Next word tomorrow.

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

Thu 7-Jan-2021 23rd of Tevet, 5781

Ex 3:16-4:17 1 Ki 2 Ps 103 Lk 18 (Eph 2)

Exodus 4:12 “Now go! I will be with your mouth and teach you what to say.”

There it is, Moses gets the same command as Abram received, “Lech” in Hebrew, “go” in English.  But Moses is still negotiating.  And “boom,” he just negotiated away his intended priesthood.  God honored Moses’ request for help and his brother, Aaron, became the high priest.  

The Hebrew word for “teach” is the same root as the word for “Torah.”  It means to instruct.  It takes that meaning from instruction on shooting to hit a target (mark), to take aim (as in archery).  God is offering to instruct Moses, but Moses is still resistant.  God becomes angry with Moses, but in a final concession allows Aaron to fill the role of high priest and speak for Moses.  

What is our take-away?  In what areas of life (or decisions concerning our destiny) have we resisted God’s instruction?  God has said to us…

Deuteronomy 31:6 “Chazak! Be courageous! Do not be afraid or tremble before them. For Adonai your God—He is the One who goes with you. He will not fail you or abandon you.”

Psalm 32:8 “I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go. I will give counsel—My eye is on you.

We should live as those who believe these promises.   

Week 2

Memory Verse: Hebrews 11:6 Now without faith it is impossible to please God. For the one who comes to God must believe that He exists and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him.

6   1/4     Monday:            Job 38-39

7   1/5     Tuesday:           Job 40-42 

  1/6     Wednesday:     Genesis 11-12 

* 9 1/7     Thursday:         Genesis 15

10 1/8     Friday:              Genesis 16-17

Question of the Day:  This year we are speaking on Saturday (and discussing in the Bible class beginning at 9:30) the reading for Thursday, which this week is Genesis 15.  Also, this week, I am speaking.  So the question of the day is… Tell us, what (from Genesis 15) are you going to talk about on Shabbat.

Answer:  Without spoiling the surprise, I suppose I can shed some light on what I have planned.  I’m going to start with verse 1 of Genesis 15.  God spoke 3 things to Abram, and those 3 things are still relevant to us today.

Genesis 15:1 After these things the word of Adonai came to Abram in a vision saying, “Do not fear, Abram. I am your shield, your very great reward.”

  1. “Do not fear.”  In the harsh winter of 1776, Thomas Paine wrote a series of pamphlets titled “The American Crisis” intended to lift the spirits of Washington’s struggling army.  The first line reads, ““These are the times that try men’s souls.”  I feel like the same could be said today.  Paine went on to write the rest of the first sentence, which could also be said today… “the summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of his country…”  The Scriptures could not be clearer on this point.  2 Timothy 1:7 For God has not given us a spirit of timidity but of power and love and self-discipline.
  2. “I am your shield.”  In Hebrew, a shield is a “Magen.”  A “shield” is a defensive weapon.  Ephesians 6:16 Above all, take up the shield of faith with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.  
  3. “I am your very great reward.”  The Hebrew word for “reward” uses the same Shoresh as Issachar (the tribe, meaning “wages”).  We learn in Scripture… Romans 6:23 For sin’s payment is death, but God’s gracious gift is eternal life in Messiah Yeshua our Lord.

This leaves us with a greater understanding of that first verse of Genesis 15.  And here is the lesson… We are not to be afraid (fear) because God will protect us (as a shield) and provide us with a great reward (payday), eternal life in Messiah Yeshua.  Come be with us on Saturday morning live or online for the rest of the message from Genesis 15.  Shalom.