Rabbi’s Reflections – Monday, April 20, 2020

Please mark your calendars.  Let’s join the Jewish community for a Yom HaShoah Observance.  Yom HaShoah is actually Tuesday, April 21st.  But this memorial online event will be next Sunday.

Surviving the Nazis – The Mira Kimmelman Story

Sunday, April 26th 7:00 p.m. Online via ZOOM or Phone.


Please join with me as we join the Knoxville Jewish Alliance in an observance of Yom HaShoah with a dramatic reading of a play entitled Surviving the Nazis: The Mira Kimmelman Story, based upon Mira’s book, Echoes from the Holocaust: A Memoir. This reading was created with the author’s permission several years ago by Dr. Mark Littmann, who used it to teach religious school students about the Holocaust.

Last year, Mira Kimmelman, who was an Oak Ridge resident, died at age 95.  When she was only 15 years old, she and her family were swept up by the Nazi army invading Poland. She spent the next six years in four Nazi concentration camps, including Auschwitz. She lost her mother, brother Benno, and 18 other family members in the Holocaust. But through tenacity, ingenuity, the blessing of God, and the help of others, Mira survived. This dramatic reading is her story–and her lasting challenge to us who live on.

Counting the Omer – Day 9

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 two days of the counting of the Omer.

Today is the second day of the second week of the counting of the Omer.  I wish to thank Dr. Raymond Finney for another wonderful contribution on Sunday, the first day of the second week.

Last week we studied the desire to be enjoyed (ideally by God) even in our weakness.  This week (today and for the next 5 days) we will be reviewing another longing of the human heart, the longing to be fascinated (filled with wonder and awe).  There are several sources for this information including the Bible and a book, “The Seven Longings of the Human Heart” written in 2006 by Mike Bickle (Forerunner Books, Kansas City, MO).  I am also collaborating with my wife, Jan, on these submissions.  We are enjoying the opportunity to work together on it.

God created us (humans) in His image.  He created us to have certain desires (also known as longings and passions).  At the highest level, these longings are satisfied in our relationship with God.  At the lowest level, we satisfy these longings with counterfeits offered by self, the world, or even the adversary, Satan.

As we have stated before, it is the enemy’s job description to try to sucker us into satisfying our longings in worldly ways or deceiving us into believing we can snuff them out.  Longings are part of our created being, designed to draw us to God, to His gospel, to the good news of Yeshua; they are meant to be satisfied by God alone.  The best outcome is to channel our longings into relationship with God; Who He is and who we are in Him.

We are created with a desire (a longing) to be fascinated.  We want to experience wonder.  This is why we climb mountains, because the view from the top is amazing, and we all want to be amazed.  We all long for the experience of being struck speechless.  We all want to be astonished.

The Bible declares this truth as “living hope.”  1 Peter 1:3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Yeshua the Messiah! In His great mercy He caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Messiah Yeshua from the dead.  Could there be any greater “WOW” moment than life from the dead?

We die physically, but our spirit lives on in the presence of God Almighty.  Our body may (and will one day) fall limp, but our spirit will never fall.  We have blessed assurance in the resurrection.  1 John 5:13 I wrote these things to you who believe in the name of Ben-Elohim, so you may know that you have eternal life.

Have you ever asked the question, “How did God know?”  Of course, it’s an expression of amazement.  God knows everything.  Our assignment is to stand and see the salvation of our God.  How many times does the Scripture promise, “God will fight for you?”  I don’t know, but plenty.

Psalm 33:8 Let all the earth fear Adonai. Let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of Him. 9 For He spoke, and it came to be. He commanded, and it stood firm.

Did anyone notice the sunrise on Sunday (or any other) morning?  There are more colors in God’s paint brush (the one He uses to paint the sky) than our minds can conceive or our eyes appreciate.  While we stand in awe of His creation, our fascination must remain on/in Him.  He is the creator.  Only He is the great I AM!  Let’s satisfy our longing to be fascinated in our relationship with God alone.

Psalm 46:11(10) “Be still, and know that I am God. I am exalted among the nations. I am exalted in the earth.” 12 Adonai-Tzva’ot is with us. The God of Jacob is our strong tower. Selah

Week 17
Memory Verse: Psalm 23:1 A psalm of David. Adonai is my shepherd, I shall not want. 2 He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters. 3 He restores my soul. He guides me in paths of righteousness for His Name’s sake.

81    4/20      Monday:        2 Samuel 1-2:1-7
82    4/21      Tuesday:       2 Samuel 3:1; 5; Psalm 23
83    4/22      Wednesday:  2 Samuel 6-7
84    4/23      Thursday:      Psalm 18; 2 Samuel 9
85    4/24      Friday:          2 Samuel 11-12

Question of the day:  Which phrase grabbed my heart when I read through the reading?

Answer:  The first phrase of the last verse… 2 Samuel 2:7a Now therefore, be strong and brave.  This message went from King David to the to the men of Jabesh-gilead, as David commended them for honoring Saul in death.  This is not the first time a similar message has found its way into the Scriptures.  Joshua, Gideon, and even David himself received this message and wrote it in the Psalms.  Later, David would pass this message on to his son, Solomon.

I want to share an observation about strength and courage.  We never know if we really have it until we need it.  Untested, it’s just “out there.”  By “out there” I means it’s of unknown quantity and quality.  So, let me pray… Lord of heaven and earth, build within each of us the capability to be strong and full of valor.  Fill our hearts with the desire to follow You in faithfulness.  And may we be found faithful in the day of battle.  In Yeshua’s name.  Amen.

Psalm 18:38 I pursue my enemies and overtake them, and will not return till they are wiped out. 39 I will crush them till they cannot rise, till they fall beneath my feet. 40 For You girded me with strength for battle. You made those who rose up against me bow down before me.

We never know our capabilities until God calls upon us.  The Scripture promises this… Luke 8:17 For nothing is hidden that will not become evident, nor secret that shall not be known and come into open view.

When God calls, courage and strength will be revealed.  So let’s pray again, “May we be found faithful in the day of battle.  In Yeshua’s name.  Amen.”