Rabbi’s Reflections – Friday, February 5, 2021

(Early) Shabbat Shalom,

Rabbi Trail:  On February 17th the F-260 will overtake the Torah portion of the Daily Bread.  The Daily Bread involves reading the whole Scripture in 5 ways (Torah, Prophets, Psalms, Gospels and other NT writings) all together, following the Jewish calendar.  For 5781 (the current Jewish year), we began “The Daily Bread” on October 12, 2020 the day after Simchat Torah and will continue until we end the year on September 18, 2021, the day of Simchat Torah.  The F-260 reading plan, on the other hand, began on New Years Day, January 1, 2021 and continues 5 days a week for 52 weeks (Foundations 260) with about 2 chapters a day in a chronological reading once through the Bible (about 42% of the Bible is read).  We are getting close to their merger in another 12 days.  End RT.

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

Fri 5-Feb-2021 23rd of Sh’vat, 5781

Ex 19:20-20:14 2 Ki 8 Ps 132-133 Jn 9 (1 Ti 6)

Finally, today we read the sixth Aliyah of Parashat Yitro, the giving of the 10 Commandments.  Er, well, at least the first seven.  The last 3 of the 10 Commandments are read at the start of the last (seventh) Aliyah of Parashat Yitro (tomorrow).

How do the 10 Commandments picture the cross?  Before I answer that, let me take a Rabbi Trail….

Rabbi Trail:  The cross is widely viewed as a Christian symbol (and it is), but it was first a Jewish symbol (not so well known, but keep reading).  After all, Christianity has nothing that didn’t start out Jewish.  In ancient Israel, the High Priest would enter the Holy of Holies in the Mishkan (Tabernacle of Moses) and then later (after it was built) the Beit HaMikdash (meaning “Holy House,” the Hebrew name for Solomon’s Temple).  Once a year on Yom Kippur afternoon, in a ceremony called the Avodah service (Avodah means “service,” so the Avodah service was the “service of all services”), the High Priest would sprinkle blood on the mercy seat.  He would sprinkle deliberately first vertically, then horizontally.

Imagine for a moment you, yourself as the High Priest.  You enter behind the veil on that once-a-year occasion.  You see the Ark of the covenant and above it the mercy seat.  The space is completely enclosed with badger skins, so it is pitch black dark, except the Shekinah glory of God is illuminating the room.  Then you see it, the cross of blood on the mercy seat, blood stains left by your predecessors who had the same assignment as you.  You sprinkle vertically and then horizontally, adding to the existing cross of blood.  Then you call out in a loud voice (so the people outside can hear you) “Barchu Et Yehovah HaM’vorach” (Bless the Lord Who is the blessing) and the people respond to your call “Baruch Yehovah HaM’vorach L’Olam Va’Ed” (Bless the Lord Who is the blessing forever and ever).  Wow, that was powerful!  End RT.

The cross has a vertical beam, which represents our relationship with God.  The first 4 Commandments speak of defining that relationship.  The last of them is the commandment to keep Shabbat as an eternal covenant.  

The cross also has a horizontal beam, which represents our relationships with each other.  The last 6 Commandments speak of defining those relationships.  It starts with parents, showing the emphasis God puts on family relationships.  Yeshua rolled it up for us…

Matthew 22:35 And testing Him, one of them, a lawyer, asked, 36 “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Torah?” 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.’ 40 The entire Torah and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”

One more thing… these two beams of the Cross cross over the place where Yeshua’s heart hung on it.  It is the heart of Yeshua that covenantally connects His body to Himself, Who is the head.  There He died so that we might live in Him.  2 Corinthians 5:14 For the love of Messiah compels us, since we have concluded that One died for all; as a result all died. 15 And He died for all so that those who live might no longer live for themselves, but for the One who died for them and was raised.

Week 6

Memory Verse: Hebrews 11:24 By faith Moses, when he had grown up, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter. 25 Instead he chose to suffer mistreatment along with the people of God, rather than to enjoy the passing pleasures of sin. 26 He considered the disgrace of Messiah as greater riches than the treasures of Egypt—because he was looking ahead to the reward.

26   2/01    Monday:         Genesis 48-49

27   2/02    Tuesday:        Genesis 50-Exodus 1

28   2/03    Wednesday:   Exodus 2-3 

29   2/04    Thursday:       Exodus 4-5

* 30 2/05    Friday:            Exodus 6-7

Question of the day:  What do we think when we read this… Exodus 7:13a  Yet Pharaoh’s heart was hardened.

Answer:  It was God Who was doing the hardening.  And why?  So that He could show His power and might over His enemies.  In the world today we have hope.  God is still on the throne.  God is still hardening hearts.  So that His purposes will be accomplished in the earth.  

2 Corinthians 4:8 We are hard pressed in every way, yet not crushed; perplexed, yet not in despair; 9 persecuted, yet not forsaken; struck down, yet not destroyed; 10 always carrying in the body the death of Yeshua, so that the life of Yeshua may also be revealed in our mortal body.

May His life be revealed in you and me.  As Paul has called us to maturity in Messiah Yeshua… Philippians 3:13 Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself as having taken hold of this. But this one thing I do: forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal for the reward of the upward calling of God in Messiah Yeshua. 15 Therefore let all who are mature have this attitude; and if you have a different attitude in anything, this also God will reveal to you.

Do you hear Paul’s charge to us?  “Press on toward the… upward calling of God in Messiah Yeshua.”  Shalom.