Rabbi’s Reflections – Wednesday, February 24, 2021
Daily Bread, reading plan by Lars Enarson (https://www.thewatchman.org/)
Wed 24 Feb-2021 12th of Adar, 5781
Ex 29:1-18 Isa 2 Pr 2 Ac 2 (Heb 8)
Acts 2 contains the story of that first Shavuot after Yeshua’s crucifixion. The crucifixion took place on the afternoon before Passover began. Passover/Unleavened Bread was followed immediately that year by a Saturday Shabbat. On the third day… Matthew 28:5 But the angel answered and said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know you are looking for Yeshua who was crucified. 6 He is not here; for He is risen, just as He said. Come, see the place where He was lying.
Then Yeshua appeared to many, including the 11 Apostles. At first Thomas was missing. But then… John 20:26 Eight days later the disciples were again inside, and Thomas was with them. Yeshua comes, despite the locked doors. He stood in their midst and said, “Shalom aleichem!”
Yeshua greeted His disciples with these words, “Peace be unto you.” He taught them for 40 days… Acts 1:3 To them He showed Himself to be alive after His suffering through many convincing proofs, appearing to them for forty days and speaking about the kingdom of God. Then Yeshua gives the disciples one last instruction… Acts 1:4 Now while staying with them, He commanded them not to leave Jerusalem, but to wait for what the Father promised—which, He said, “You heard from Me. 5 For John immersed with water, but you will be immersed in the Ruach ha-Kodesh not many days from now.”
That was 40 days (before His ascension), leaving another 10 days before the 50th day came. The 50th day is the Feast of Weeks called Shavuot in Hebrew. This is our reading for today… Acts 2:1 When the day of Shavuot had come, they were all together in one place. 2 Suddenly there came from heaven a sound like a mighty rushing wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. 3 And tongues like fire spreading out appeared to them and settled on each one of them.
Of course something else happened just before the 120 from the upper room ministered to the 3,000 who got saved on Shavuot morning. Acts 2:4 They were all filled with the Ruach ha-Kodesh and began to speak in other tongues as the Ruach enabled them to speak out.
This year we will begin counting the Omer (more on this later) on April 7th for 7 weeks (49 days) which leads up to Shavuot. We count in a different way from most of the traditional Jewish world. Karaite Jews and perhaps some other sects are in agreement with our counting method, but we are definitely in the minority.
The important thing is that we will take 7 weeks to recount our blessings. We will offer each blessing to the Lord as a thank offering. The instruction in Hebrew is “S’firat HaOmer.” S’firat means to count (as in to take a census). The same Shoresh (root word) is used variously along the same lines. A “Sipur” is a story. A “Safer” is a book. A “Sofer” is a scribe (or secretary). So, you can see that counting is not just one number after another, but taking inventory and detailing the “story” of our blessings in writing.
Psalm 9 starts with the words “O’deh Yehovah” which actually means “I will thank God.” Psalm 9:1 For the music director, to the tune of “The Death of the Son,” a psalm of David. 2 I will praise (thank) Adonai with my whole heart. I will tell about all Your wonders. (This is all verse 1 in the Christian Bible.) Notice this is a song of David upon the death of his son. And the first word out of his mouth (a man after God’s own heart) is “I will thank God.” This is also a good word for us today. Shalom aleichem.
Memory Verse: Matthew 22:37 And He said to him, “‘You shall love Adonai your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’
41 2/22 Monday: Exodus 32-33
42 2/23 Tuesday: Exodus 34-36:1
* 43 2/24 Wednesday: Exodus 40
44 2/25 Thursday: Leviticus 8-9
45 2/26 Friday: Leviticus 16-17
Question of the Day: At the end of Exodus (which is today’s reading), what happened when Moses finished the instructions of God for dedicating the Tabernacle?
Answer: Exodus 40:34 Then the cloud covered the Tent of Meeting, and the glory of Adonai filled the Tabernacle. 35 Moses was unable to enter into the Tent of Meeting, because the cloud resided there and the glory of Adonai filled the Tabernacle.
Do you recall, because I’ve spoken of this previously, that for every physical reality there is a greater spiritual reality? Isaiah tells us of his vision of that greater spiritual reality. Isaiah 6:1 In the year of King Uzziah’s death, I saw Adonai sitting on a throne, high and lifted up, and the train of His robe filled the Temple. 2 Seraphim were standing above Him. Each had six wings: with two he covered his face and with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew. 3 One called out to another, and said: “Holy, holy, holy, is Adonai-Tzva’ot! The whole earth is full of His glory.” 4 Then the posts of the door trembled at the voice of those who called, and the House was filled with smoke.
This vision made Isaiah feel inadequate. Isaiah 6:5 Then I said: “Oy to me! For I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips, and I am dwelling among a people of unclean lips. Why were there many seraphim and not just one? Because no “one” could see all of God’s holiness. Each one had his perspective. They had to call one to the other, “I see holiness over here.” And then the other called back, “And I see holiness over here too.” This is why God wants us to be in a community. We each have a perspective of God’s holiness, but none of us is in the same place at the same time. God wants us to appreciate more of Him as a community together than we ever could appreciate individually apart.
One last word… why should we be upset when someone has a different perspective of God than we do? The important thing is that we’re all on the road to Jerusalem. Let’s not accentuate divisions because we’re not in the same spot along the journey. We’re on the road by grace and by grace we will continue until He returns to bring us home. Shalom.