Rabbi’s Reflections – Thursday, April 22, 2021


Day 19 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 five days of the counting of the omer.

I continue to be inspired by the writings of A.W. Tozer in his two volumes, “The Attributes of God.”  As we count our blessings, we are still appreciating (valuing and expressing our thanksgiving) the grace of God.  Consider these verses from Lamentations….

Lamentations 3:21 This I recall to my heart— therefore I have hope: 22 Because of the mercies of Adonai we will not be consumed, for His compassions never fail. 23 They are new every morning! Great is Your faithfulness.

What are the Hebrew words translated as “mercies” and “compassions?”  Then we’ll look at the words for “hope” and “faithfulness.”  By the time we’re done today, you will have added 4 words to your Hebrew vocabulary.  Rabbi’s note:  If you know 200 words, you will know 80% of the Bible, as the same themes are repeated many times over.  These 4 words are 4 of the 200.  End RN.

The “mercies of Adonai” are the “Chesed” (in the plural, “Chasdei”) of Adonai.  “Chesed” is the best Hebrew word for “grace.”  There are others, but this one seems the best to me.  It is God’s undeserved (unearned) favor.  Every sinner is the recipient of God’s grace.  Aren’t you glad you were?  Without grace, none of us would make it to salvation.  

Then we read “His compassions never fail.”  What are compassions and how are they different from mercies?  The Hebrew word for “compassions” is “Racham.”  Rachamov (His compassions) in the Hebrew.  “Racham” is actually singular.  There is a silent (not pronounced) “yud” inserted before the final “vav” that makes it plural.  If you’re not reading it, you would just have to know it’s there.

“Racham” (more commonly found in the plural as “Rach’manot”) is the concept of mercy extended to an immediate need or situation.  Someone’s house burns down and we feel “Rach’manot” toward them and find a way to help them.  Chesed is also mercy, but in response to an ongoing or anticipated situation.  In this way it is like God’s grace.  God knows we humans have a long term problem, so in anticipation of our long term need, He sent His Son as His provision of “Chesed,” His grace toward us.  So there is a difference between Chesed and Rach’manot, and now you know what it is.  The take away is to thank God for all His mercy both short term and long term.

I promised you a teaching on two other significant words, “hope” (Yachal) and “faithfulness” (Emunah).  “Yachal” is not the usual hope (Mi’ka’vah), but literally, it means “wait.”  Hope involves patience.  It is first used in Scripture in Genesis 8:12 to describe Noah waiting (hoping) for the waters to recede.  And, of course, “Emunah” is where we get our English word “Amen.”  It means “eternal faithfulness.”  When we say “Amen,” we mean “that is an eternally faithful saying.”

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

Thu 22 Apr-2021 10th of Iyar, 5781 

Le 19:15-32 Isa 60 Job 16 (Mt 16) 1 Jn 5

The Aliyah today starts with Leviticus 19:15.  The last phrase of that verse is this… Leviticus 19:15b you are to judge your neighbor with fairness.  Wait a minute, I thought we are told not to judge.  For example, Matthew 7:1a Judge not.  Let me ask you a question.  Do you remember (hint: it was yesterday) we studied the difference between judgment (the trial) and judgment (the verdict)?  We are not to judge (pass down a condemnation verdict) but we are to have good discernment, which is also judgment, to know the difference between right and wrong.  In telling us to judge our neighbor with fairness, the context indicates that this means we are not to bear a false witness; don’t lie about your neighbor.  

My point here is that at no time are we to lose the value of good sense (and obeying the commandments of God) out of a desire to not judge.  Unitarians and secular humanists do that.  The result of being all inclusive is frequently an abomination to God and His principles.  The command is… Ephesians 4:14 As a result, we are no longer to be like children, tossed around by the waves and blown all over by every wind of teaching, by the trickery of men with cunning in deceitful scheming. 15 Instead, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all ways into Messiah, who is the Head.

Anyone can speak the truth, but that’s not the command.  Speaking the truth in love requires wisdom and the leading of the Holy Spirit.  1 Corinthians 12:31 But earnestly desire the greater gifts. And still I show you a far better way.  What follows is the love chapter and the greatest teaching on love in the entire Bible.  

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:  What is David saying… Psalm 18:3a Adonai is my rock (Selah), my fortress (Masada) and my deliverer (Palat)?

Answer:  The “rock” in Hebrew is “Selah” (Samech-Lamed-Ayin).  This is the same word the rock that brought forth water in the desert.  (It is not “Selah” (Samech-Lamed-Hay) as is used in the Psalms meaning “pause here.”  It is the word used here…  Numbers 20:8b Speak to the rock before their eyes, and it will give out its water.  That rock of provision was Yeshua.  John 4:14 But whoever drinks of the water that I will give him shall never be thirsty. The water that I give him will become a fountain of water within him, springing up to eternal life!”

The word “Matzada” means fortress.  It is a “stronghold,” but in a good way.  This is a place of protection.  This is also a word that could describe Yeshua’s place in our lives.  (Although our word, “Masada,” does not appear in the following verse, it seems to fit our content.)  Proverbs 18:10 The Name of Adonai is a strong tower. The righteous one runs into it and is set safely up high.  

Finally, “my deliverer” is “Palat” (Peh-Lamed-Tet) which can also mean “rescue.”  Again, this applies well to our relationship with Yeshua, Who rescues us from certain destruction.  2 Timothy 4:18 The Lord will rescue me from every evil deed and will deliver me safely into His heavenly Kingdom. To Him be the glory forever and ever. Amen.