Rabbi’s Reflections – Thursday, February 29, 2024

The Psalms
An Introduction, Psalms 1 and 2
Part 4, Psalm 1:3

Rabbi Trail: I want to tell you a funny story on myself… When I was little, my father was in the United States Navy.  At the age of 6 (and just about to enter the first grade), our family was moved to a station in Puerto Rico (San Juan).  After a year, we were transferred to the Eastern end of the island at Roosevelt Roads Naval Air Station (this base is now closed).  So for my first 3 years of elementary school, I attended military schools outside mainland USA.

Not very funny so far, is it?  When I was ready for the 4th grade (10 years old), we were transferred again.  This time to Naval Air Station Pensacola where I entered public school (for the first time), Montclair Elementary.  Since we lived in Montclair I walked about a mile to school.  Miss Reeves was my fourth grade teacher (there are plenty of other teachers whose names I don’t remember).

Okay, here’s the funny part.  Miss Reeves assigned a memorization project to the entire class, memorize the First Psalm.  (Those were the days.)  I piped up, “But I’m Jewish, and that’s in the Christian Bible, so I should be allowed to ‘opt out.’”  My rabbi even said I was right and should be exempt.  Miss Reeves didn’t argue with me, she agreed, I did not have to memorize Psalm 1.  I was assigned the responsibility of monitoring every other classmate who did memorize it.  After 30 students recited Psalm 1 to me (and I corrected or prompted them), I knew it better than anyone else.  Nice work Miss Reeves.  Oh, and it is too in the Jewish Bible.  End RT.

Psa 1:3  He will be like a planted tree over streams of water, producing its fruit during its season. Its leaf never droops—but in all he does, he succeeds.

Let’s recap… we started in verse 1 with this “man” who is described as “Ashre,” overjoyed because he has avoided the ways of sinners.  I verse 2, this same man is “Chafetz,” delighted because he meditates on and is obedient to the Torah.  This “man” of Psalm one could be you.  Avoid the path of sin that leads to destruction and take the path of righteousness that leads to eternal joy in the presence of the Lord.  Yes, it really is that simple, black and while, not 50 shades of gray.

Now, in verse 3, this same “man” (you) is described further.  He is likened to a fruitful tree which is watered constantly (in right amounts) so that its (your) leaf never droops (withers).  The Hebrew indicates there are multiple streams providing the water, and we know that water is necessary for life.  What’s left?  In Hebrew we say, (as the Psalm does), “Hatzlacha.”

When Israelis say it, they mean “good luck.”  I do like the TLV as it translates “Hatzlacha” into “success.”  This is a conditional promise from God.  So let’s summarize the first three verses… avoid sin, embrace the Torah and have much success.  Even a fourth grader can appreciate such wisdom.  Amen (so be it), in Yeshua’s name.  Shalom shalom.

Daily Bread, reading plan by Lars Enarson (https://www.thewatchman.org/)
20 Adar I Thursday 29-Feb-24
Exodus 34:1-9 2 Kings 13 Psalm 122-123 John 17 Hebrews 7:15-29