Rabbi’s Reflections – Tuesday, April 20, 2021


Day 17 of counting the Omer

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 two weeks and three days of the counting of the omer.

We are appreciating God’s attributes as we count our blessings.  The last 3 words of 1 John 4:8 say it all… “God is love.”  All of His attributes can be reduced to these 3 words.  When we sing the “Shema,” we are calling on Israel to hear.  But there is a greater “hearing” that takes place, a divine hearing.  God heard the children of Israel when they called out to Him.  

Exodus 6:5 Furthermore, I have heard the groaning of Bnei-Yisrael, whom the Egyptians are keeping in bondage. So I have remembered My covenant.

The result was 10 plagues, judgment on Pharaoh, and deliverance for the people of God.  We are all God’s little lambs (whom He loves).  We are bleating out our cry for His deliverance.  Psalm 102:2 Adonai, hear my prayer, let my cry come to You. 3 Do not hide Your face from me in the day of my distress. Turn Your ear to me— in the day I call, answer me quickly.

He answered by sending His Son.  1 John 4:10 This is love—not that we have loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son as an atonement for our sins.  

I’m writing all of this is to bring attention to God’s attribute of mercy.  God’s loves us enough to have mercy on us.  We are guilty of sin and deserve death (not physical death, but eternal separation from the presence of God), yet in His mercy, He heard our cry and sent His Son.

Hebrews 2:9 But we see One who was made for a little while lower than the angels—namely, Yeshua. He is now crowned with glory and honor, because of the death He suffered so that, by the grace of God, He might taste death for everyone. 

Again, we give thanks with grateful hearts.


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

Tue 20 Apr-2021 8th of Iyar, 5781

Le 17:8-18:21 Isa 58 Job 14 (Mt 14) 1 Jn 3

From the Aliyah (Torah portion) today, we read this… Leviticus 17:11b … it is the blood that makes atonement because of the life.  But where is the blood today?  We no longer have sacrifices.  And beside that, when we did have sacrifices, they had to be offered continually as their effectiveness was temporary.  

I am frequently asked, “How do the rabbis believe we are able to receive salvation, since there are no blood sacrifices today and blood is required for atonement?”  The answer is that the rabbis made a “work-around,” but it’s a “work-around” the scriptures never authorize.  The rabbis believe prayer becomes a substitute for blood sacrifice.  

Jonah 2:10(9) But I, with a voice of thanks will sacrifice to you. What I vowed, I will pay. Salvation is from Adonai.” 

But that’s a giant leap, one the Scriptures never intend.  The real “blood” is the once for all time sacrifice of Yeshua.  It alone is suitable for permanent atonement.  I’m going to close this with 3 verses from Hebrews 9, but the whole chapter is appropriate here.

Hebrews 9:14 how much more will the blood of Messiah—who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without blemish to God—cleanse our conscience from dead works to serve the living God?

Hebrews 9:24 For Messiah did not enter into Holies made with hands—counterparts of the true things—but into heaven itself, now to appear in God’s presence on our behalf.  

Hebrews 9:28 so also Messiah, was offered once to bear the sins of many. He will appear a second time, apart from sin, to those eagerly awaiting Him for salvation.

Week 17

Memory Verse: Psalm 51:10 Let me hear joy and gladness, so the bones You crushed may rejoice.  11 Hide Your face from my sins, and blot out all my iniquities.  12 Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.  13 Do not cast me from Your presence— take not Your Ruach ha-Kodesh from me.

81   4/19    Monday:         2 Samuel 1; 2:1-7

* 82 4/20    Tuesday:        2 Samuel 3:1;5; Psalm 23

83   4/21    Wednesday:   2 Samuel 6-7

84   4/22    Thursday:       Psalm 18; 2 Samuel 9

85   4/23    Friday:            2 Samuel 11-12

Question of the day:  Why is Psalm 23 perhaps the best known of all the Psalms?

Answer:  No doubt, Psalm 23 is special.  The first verse postulates… Psalm 23:1 A psalm of David. Adonai is my shepherd, I shall not want.  The concept that “God is my Shepherd” is pleasing to ponder.  The rest of the Psalm gives description to how God shepherds us.  To be clear, God does everything perfectly.  He’s never made a mistake.  He’s never been wrong.  If I’m going to be cared for, I want the perfect “care-giver” to superintend my care.  

And what does “I shall not want” mean?  It means there will be no shortage.  God’s kingdom is a kingdom of abundance (not to excess, but sufficient).  He will provide.  Paul wrote to the Philippians with authority.  Philippians 4:19 My God will fulfill every need of yours according to the riches of His glory in Messiah Yeshua.  The same message applies to us all today.  Give thanks with a grateful heart.