Rabbi’s Reflections – Saturday, April 18, 2020 

Shabbat Shalom,

Please tune in to our Facebook page on Saturday at 10:30 for our Shabbat morning worship service.  Search for “Shomair Yisrael Knoxville” and we should pop up.  Tithes and offerings can be sent online at syknox.org or mailed to the synagogue at 3811 Boyd’s Bridge Pike, Knoxville, TN. 37914. 

Rabbi Trail:  Giving gift of “Tzedakah” is the Jewish way of inviting the Lord’s blessing.  “Tzedakah” is the Hebrew word based on “Tzedek” meaning “righteous.”  As “Tzedakah” it means “acts of righteousness” or donations.  Jewish people give in multiples of 18 because in numerology 18 is made of 10-yud and 8-chet.  Put those two letters together and you get “Chai” or “life.”  We give life in multiples of 18.  

Today, I’m inviting you to click on this link and join people around the world helping those in need in Israel.  https://tikkun.tv/corona-israel/  Tikkun has started the corona-18 fund for this purpose.  Please consider a gift of $36 (double “Chai”) to bless those in need with Shabbat shalom.  Thank you, Michael.  End RT. 

Counting the Omer – Day 7

Here is the proper blessing to be said each day.  This is how Jewish people fulfill the command to count.

בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יְיָ אֱלֹהֵֽינוּ מֶֽלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם, אֲשֶׁר קִדְּשָֽׁנוּ בְּמִצְוֹתָיו, וְצִוָּֽנוּ עַל סְפִירַת הָעֹֽמֶר

Baruch Atah Adonai Elohenu Melech Ha-Olam, Asher Kid’shanu B’mitzvotav, Vitzivanu Al Sefirat Ha-Omer.

Blessed are You O Lord our God, King of the universe, who has sanctified us by his commandments and commanded us about the counting of the Omer.  Today is one week and no days of the counting of the Omer.

Today we end the first week of counting the Omer.  Every year, for 49 days, (from the first Sunday of Pesach until we count 7 full Shabbats) we count our blessings.  This year we are counting the blessings of our relationship with God through Messiah Yeshua.  God created us with desires (longings) designed by Him to draw us to Himself.  The first one we have been exploring is the desire to be enjoyed (loved).  This is the last write up of that longing.  

Rabbi Trail:  I want to note here that we get into trouble when we attempt to satisfy those longings in any way or in any relationship other than the way God intended through a relationship with Him through His Son, Yeshua.  End RT.

God does something miraculous within us (by grace) when we first begin to believe that the Creator of the Universe, God Almighty, loves us even (and especially) in all our weaknesses.  Read the “by faith” list of Old Testament saints in Hebrews 11.  Each of them had what is available to us, a “yes” in our hearts for God.  That “yes” is us saying “‘yes” to belief, surrender and obedience.

Song of Songs 8:6a Set me like a seal over your heart,… For love is as strong as death.

2 Corinthians 1:21 Now it is God who establishes us with you in Messiah. He anointed us, 22 set His seal on us, and gave us the Rauch in our hearts as a pledge.

The Lord God, the Great “I AM” loves you.  And His 2 great commandments are a picture of the cross; to love God (vertical beam) and love each other (horizontal beam).  See Mark 12:30,31.

God is calling us to have the heart of David.  The prophet Samuel told King Saul that God had found another (David) who had a heart for God, unlike Saul.  (1 Samuel 13:14)  Moreover; God has given us the key of David.

Revelation 5:10 You have made them for our God a kingdom and kohanim, and they shall reign upon the earth. 

The key of David is found in unwavering faith that “God is for me.”  Psalm 56:10(9) Then my enemies will turn back in the day I call. This I know—that God is for me.  David never allowed circumstances to change his focus.  David was steadfast.  He never turned away from God.  In both good times and in bad, David always turned to God for strength.  When our gaze is fixed on God, the enemy must flee….  Jacob 4:7 Therefore submit to God. But resist the devil and he will flee from you. 8 Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded!

As we near the end of our study on the longing to be enjoyed, please answer this one question “Final Exam”….  

In time of trouble, fear, doubt, torment, depression, anguish, do we run toward God (the Tree of Life), knowing He is our ALL IN ALL, or do we run to worldly resources (the tree of the knowledge of good and evil), conspiracy theories, economies, psychologists, medications?   

There is nothing wrong with gaining wisdom on an issue, BUT where do we anchor our hope!  “As for me and my house we will serve the Lord. (Joshua 24:15)

And now, I want to close today with a quote from Psalm 121, verses 1-4, which ends in Hebrew with the name of our congregation, “Shomair Yisrael.”  May God always watch over Israel, and from Israel to the rest of the world.  

Psalm 121:1 A Song of Ascents. I will lift up my eyes to the mountains— from where does my help come? 2 My help comes from Adonai, Maker of heaven and earth. 3 He will not let your foot slip. Your Keeper will not slumber. 4 Behold, the Keeper of Israel neither slumbers nor sleeps.

In closing, when the reality of His everlasting and unchanging love begins to sink into our DNA, two things will happen.  First, we will begin to receive His unchanging, everlasting love for us.  And secondly, we will awaken to the longing to return His love with equal abandon (unashamed).  

We’ll pick this up on Monday.  Tomorrow (Sunday), Raymond Finney will write the first of a two part series on ancient Hebrew bridal customs and how they mirror our walk with Yeshua.  Don’t miss it.  Shabbat Shalom.  R. Michael.