Rabbi’s Reflections – Friday, March 5, 2021

(Early) Shabbat Shalom,

“Al Tishkach” (don’t forget) to make reservations for our community Passover Seder.  On the first night of Passover, Saturday, March 27th at 6pm we will celebrate the Passover together.  The doors will open at 5:30 at Rothchild Catering, 8807 Kingston Pike.  There is a full dinner on the menu.  Adults $25 and Children 12 and under $15.  Reserve your seats here.  https://shomairyisrael.churchcenter.com/registrations/events/704149

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

Fri 5 March-2021 21st of Adar, 5781

Ex 34:10-26 Isa 11-12 Pr 9 Ac 8 (Rev 2)

In the Aliyah today, God is offering some instruction, especially as regards not making covenant with heathens.  There is also an emphasis on avoiding idol worship.  Then, suddenly, there is this verse.  Exodus 34:18 “You are to keep the Feast of Matzot. For seven days you are eat matzot , as I commanded you, at the time appointed in the month Aviv, for in the month Aviv you came out from Egypt.”

“But wait,” you say, “We celebrate Passover in the month of ‘Nisan.’  There is a month ‘Av,’ but there is no month Aviv at all.”  We might be tempted to believe we have found an error in the Torah.  Then again, no so fast.  There are two possible explanations.  First, I found a biblical note that “Aviv” is the Canaanite name for the Hebrew month “Nisan.”  Another possible explanation is that this is a reference to springtime.  Aviv is the Hebrew word for the season of spring.  It could mean a month in the spring, not necessarily naming the specific month.  Anyway, interesting but not very spiritual.  Let’s move on…

Then we have a command to celebrate the “Shalosh Regalim” (meaning
“three legs”).  Exodus 34:23 Three times during the year all your males are to appear before Adonai Elohim, God of Israel.  The way we “appear” is by walking to Jerusalem.  Like a baseball batter running to first base, we are “legging it out.”   And we are not to appear before God empty handed.  Deuteronomy 16:16 Three times a year all your males are to appear before Adonai your God in the place He chooses—at the Feast of Matzot, the Feast of Shavuot, and the Feast of Sukkot. No one should appear before Adonai empty-handed— 17 the gift of each man’s hand according to the blessing Adonai your God has given you.

I want to close this portion of the RR with a discussion on “Chametz.”  Exodus 34:25a “You are not to offer the blood of My sacrifice with hametz,  Chametz (or “Hametz” as the TLV spells the transliteration) is leaven.  Leaven puffs up whatever it is in.  Because of its “puffed up” nature, Chametz is the symbol of pride, and pride is the opposite of humility.  For one week, during the Feast of unleavened bread, God commands that we get all the leaven out of our houses, and certainly not to eat any.  

My suspicion is that someday we will discover a health benefit to cleansing our system once a year of all leaven for a week.  But that in no way should discount the value we place on simply obeying God on account of Who He is.  We take a week to obey the command of God by enhancing our humble character and diminishing our prideful character. 

Recenty, my friend, Cantor Bear, gave me permission to quote him.  “Humility is not about thinking less of yourself, it’s about thinking of yourself less.”  Yeshua gave us the ultimate lesson on humility.  Philippians 2:5 Have this attitude in yourselves, which also was in Messiah Yeshua, 6 Who, though existing in the form of God, did not consider being equal to God a thing to be grasped. 7 But He emptied Himself— taking on the form of a slave, becoming the likeness of men and being found in appearance as a man. 8 He humbled Himself— becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. 9 For this reason God highly exalted Him and gave Him the name that is above every name, 10 that at the name of Yeshua every knee should bow, in heaven and on the earth and under the earth, 11 and every tongue profess that Yeshua the Messiah is Lord— to the glory of God the Father.

That’s right.  Let’s give Jacob (James) the last word today… Jacob 4:10 Humble yourselves in the sight of Adonai, and He shall lift you up.  Get the Chametz out, physically and spiritually.  Follow Yeshua in this and in everything else. 

Week 10

Memory Verse: Deuteronomy 31:7 Then Moses summoned Joshua and said to him in the sight of all Israel, “Be strong! Be courageous! For you are to go with this people into the land Adonai has sworn to their fathers to give them, and you are to enable them to inherit it. 8 Adonai—He is the One who goes before you. He will be with you. He will not fail you or abandon you. Do not fear or be discouraged.”

46   3/01    Monday:         Leviticus 23

47   3/02    Tuesday:        Leviticus 26

48   3/03    Wednesday:  Numbers 11-12

49   3/04    Thursday:      Numbers 13-14

* 50 3/05    Friday:           Numbers 16-17

Question of the day:  How does God deal with rebellion?

Answer:  God hates rebellion.  1 Samuel 15:23a For rebellion is like the sin of divination.  These two chapters (Numbers 16 & 17) provide a pretty good description that answers our question of the day.  Dathan and Abiram were trouble makers, resisting the authority of Moses and Aaron.  Their names were deceptive.  Dathan may mean “fountain,” or it may be a combination of David (beloved) and Nathan (gift).  Abiram means “exalted father.”  Both of these men had pride issues that were not repented of, though they had many opportunities.  And the earth swallowed them up.

Moving on to chapter 17, we get a lesson on “life from the dead.”  Aaron’s rod had no root and no water, it was a long dead walking stick, yet overnight it budded flowers and produced almonds.  Numbers 17:8 The next day, Moses entered the Tent of Testimony and behold, Aaron’s staff, from the house of Levi, had sprouted, blossomed, and produced almonds!  This was such a great miracle, it lasted for centuries inside the Ark of the Covenant as a witness.  

Likewise, Yeshua, died on the cross, but rose from the dead in new life on the third day.  1 Corinthians 15:3 For I also passed on to you first of all what I also received— that Messiah died for our sins according to the Scriptures, 4 that He was buried, that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures.  

From Yeshua’s resurrection, all of His followers are given new life.  2 Corinthians 5:17 Therefore if anyone is in Messiah, he is a new creation. The old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. 

This will lead to Israel’s revival.  Romans 11:26a and in this way all Israel will be saved.

And from Israel’s revival, to worldwide revival.  Romans 11:15 For if their rejection leads to the reconciliation of the world, what will their acceptance be but life from the dead?

God deals with rebellion by overcoming it with new life.  We were all in rebellion at some time.  Ephesians 2:1 You were dead in your trespasses and sins. 2 At that time, you walked in the way of this world, in conformity to the ruler of the domain of the air—the ruler of the spirit who is now operating in the sons of disobedience.

But now… Ephesians 2:4 God was rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us. 5 Even when we were dead in our trespasses, He made us alive together with Messiah. (By grace you have been saved!) 6 And He raised us up with Him and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Messiah Yeshua.

Shabbat Shalom everyone.