Rabbi’s Reflections – Friday, April 1, 2022
(Early) Shabbat Shalom,

If you’re in the habit of reading the RR to children as part of your daily devotional, spoiler alert.  Please read this first section silently.  If you are a child, please skip it.  There is nothing explicit in what I’m going to write.  However; just the mention of “offensive and obscene” material is offensive and obscene to some and should never be brought to the awareness of children.

Let me jump to the bottom line.  Our society is sick and, by any measure of observation, is getting sicker.  Bo Yeshua Bo!  Come, Yeshua, Come!

Matthew 24:21 For then there will be great trouble, such as has not happened since the beginning of the world until now, nor ever will. 22 And unless those days were cut short, no one would be delivered. But for the sake of the chosen, those days will be cut short.

Tennessee is a conservative state.  It is one of 16 states that has a super majority (veto proof) of Republican legislators in both houses.  Yesterday (Wednesday) an anti-obscenity law (HB1944) passed the Tennessee House of Representatives.  Many liberal journalists and legislators have declared it is unnecessary because (they say) we already have anti-obscenity laws.

Whatever laws we already have must be inadequate, because I can’t even take a short trip to the supermarket without having to do business with some obviously gender confused employee the public appearance of whom I find offensive.  Elementary school teachers want to discuss sexuality with their young students.  They want to explain to the most vulnerable among us, children who don’t even know what words mean (or how to properly form them into sentences) that sexuality is a choice.  These teachers want to be able to use public education funds to teach that boys and not really boys and girls are not really girls.  Somebody needs help (from above) and it is us.

What is obscene?  Our society has struggled with an answer to that question, even at the Supreme Court.  In 1957, the High Court defined obscene speech as being “utterly without redeeming social importance” in which “to the average person, applying contemporary community standards, the dominant theme of the material taken as a whole appeals to prurient interest.”

I have two problems with that definition.  First, who is deciding what is socially important, and secondly, the average person is below average.  That means the majority of us are offended by what is acceptable to the rest of us.  The SCOTUS has over the years ruled on cases to update their definitions, but a firm understanding remains elusive.

In the newspaper, the story on HB1944 had the word “obscene” in quotes.  They’re saying if effect, “Who knows what obscene is?”  Please join me in the quest for righteousness… we long for the day that our society will adopt God’s righteous standards, but we will probably have to wait until after the great separation (see the RR from last Tuesday) before that happens.

This has been brewing in me for some time.  The story on HB1944 made me boil over.  Thanks for listening.

Jewish Evangelism in Isaiah 56

I’m looking for Scriptures to encourage us in Jewish evangelism.  Specifically, I’m looking in Isaiah, but in a random (rather than systematic) way.  I forget now what led me to Isaiah, chapter 56.  It could have been a commentary I read recently.

Isaiah 56:1 Thus says Adonai: “Preserve justice, do righteousness. For My salvation is about to come, and My righteousness to be revealed.

The entire chapter has two other themes, the ingathering of people from outside the children of Israel and the misbehavior of watchmen.  But in this first verse, there is evidence of Yeshua’s ministry to His own people.  In the Hebrew, Yeshua (Salvation) is coming close.

Psalm 2:12 Kiss the Son, lest He become angry, and you perish along your way— since His wrath may flare up suddenly. Happy is everyone taking refuge in Him!

And what “Son” is that?  Psalm 2:11 Serve Adonai with fear, and rejoice with trembling. You may have always thought (as did I) that “Adonai” is a name for God the Father.  Asher Intrater, in his book, “Who Ate Lunch With Abraham” provides compelling evidence from the Hebrew text that “Adonai” is, in fact, a Hebrew name for Yeshua.

Isaiah chapter 56 verse 1 ends with, “My righteousness to be revealed (uncovered).”  Is “My righteousness” a thing or a name?  Jeremiah 23:6 In His days Judah will be saved, and Israel will dwell in safely; and this is His Name by which He will be called: Adonai our righteousness. Who will save Judah and make Israel dwell in safety?  “Yehovah (Adonai) Tzid’ke’nu” (with the accent on the second syllable) is another one of Yeshua’s Hebrew names.

I was told as a youth that “Jesus” is not mentioned in the Tanach (Old Testament).  In fact, He is mentioned on practically every page.  Something just occurred to me.  The idea that sins could be removed without a call to replace sinful living with righteous living is non-biblical.  Yeshua told the woman caught in adultery, John 8:11b  “Go, and sin no more.”

1 John 1:9a If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive our sins.  But that’s only the first half of the verse.  1 John 1:9b and purify us from all unrighteousness. This is God’s call to obedience to His righteous standards (usually called commandments).

Yeshua is calling His people (those who follow Him) to holy living.  The rabbis don’t see it, but it is there.  It’s not popular in this “seeker friendly” environment in which we find ourselves, but it’s still part of God’s plan for the salvation of the world.

Daily Bread, reading plan by Lars Enarson (https://www.thewatchman.org/)
Fri 01-Apr-2022 29th of Adar II, 5782
Le 13:40-54 Isa 28 Pr 11 Ac 28 (Rev 22)

Week 14
Memory Verse: Psalm 19:14 Also keep Your servant from willful sins. May they not have dominion over me. Then I will be blameless, free from great transgression.

66    3/28      Monday:        Judges 6-7
67    3/29      Tuesday:       Judges 13-14
68    3/30      Wednesday:  Judges 15-16
69    3/31      Thursday:      Ruth 1-2
70    4/1        Friday:           Ruth 3-4