Rabbi’s Reflections – Saturday, April 22, 2023
Shabbat Shalom,

Day 14 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 no days of the counting of the Omer.

Follow up that prayer by remembering a blessing from the Lord and give Him thanks.

Day 34: Evening
God’s Glory is His Goodness Toward Us
by David Harwood

From the beginning of these meditations, we’ve stressed the opportunity we have to ask God to reveal to us that which would increase our love for Him. Way before Moses gave the Greatest Command, Moses (this extraordinary, risk-taking, adventurous spiritual explorer) was captured by God’s heart and longed to know the One Who captured him. At the end of a lengthy time of intense communion with the Lord, in the immediate aftermath of extraordinary heartbreaking trial, right after a time of controversial intercession, having finally received a remarkable promise, Moses did not take a break. He asked to see God’s glory. God responded with a promise. The Lord said that He would personally reveal Himself.

(Moses) said, “Please, show me Your glory!”

So He said, “I will cause all My goodness to pass before you, and call out the Name of Adonai before you. I will be gracious toward whom I will be gracious, and I will show mercy on whom I will be merciful.” (Exodus 33:18-19 TLV) 

This promise contained a principle. God said that He would make all of His goodness pass before Moses. This was to be a complete revelation. In effect, He promised to graciously and compassionately answer Moses and satisfy his longing. God planned to do this with all Israel.

Here’s some instruction as to how to read this next section. The dashes between words indicate that they are to be read almost as if they were one long word. The capitalized and italicized word needs to be emphasized. I hope this helps. Anyway, this is how I used to read this verse:

“… I will be gracious to WHOM I-will-be-gracious, and-will-show-compassion-on WHOM I-will-show-compassion.” (Exodus 33:18-19)

To me it used to read like a judgment: “Don’t question Me. I’ll decide to whom I have determined to be gracious and compassionate for My own sovereign reasons.”

Now, however, I’d like to work with the emPHAsis of these words. I am going to capitalize and italicize a different word: will. When you read “WILL” please emphaSIZE it. I’m trying to make this sound like a promise rather than the declaration of a judgment. I hope it sounds more like a verse that EMphasizes God’s purpose to be gracious and compassionate to those He loves, determines to deliver, and reveal Himself.

“… I WILL be gracious to-whom-I will-be-gracious, and I WILL show compassion on-whom-I will-show-compassion.” (Exodus 33:19)

That really does read differently than when the word “I” or “whom” is emphasized. Try it. One is a gracious, compassionate Father; the other is a dictator.

Let’s do something similar to “gracious” and “compassion.”

“… I will be gracious to-whom-I-will-be-gracious, and will show compassion on-whom-I will-show-compassion.” (Exodus 33:19b)

The context is a hint. God indicated, “As I am with you, Moses, so shall I be with all Israel.”

God’s splendor is the shining beauty that visibly depicts His goodness. It’s like the beauty and majesty of the sky. This Scripture reveals that the aspect of His nature God most highly values is not His splendor. After all, the Son of God was able to incarnate and fully reveal God’s glory.

What aspect of God’s nature does the Lord equate with glory? His goodness toward those He loves. This goodness is revealed through His love-motivating grace-favor and compassion.

This reminds me of Isaiah 55:7-9.

Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous one his thoughts, let him return to Adonai, so He may have compassion on him, and to our God, for He will abundantly pardon. (Isaiah 55:7 TLV)

Will God pardon? Will He be gracious? Will He be compassionate? Will God forgive egregious sin? You might not, but God’s glory is His goodness toward us.

 “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways.” It is a declaration of Adonai. “For as the heavens are higher than earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts. (Isaiah 55:8-9 TLV) 

You might not overlook wrongs done to you or pardon outrages done to those you love, but the God Who revealed Himself to Moses abundantly pardons those who turn to Him. He is worth loving.

Therefore Adonai is longing to be gracious to you. Thus He will be exalted, so He may have mercy on you For Adonai is a God of justice. Blessed are all who wait for Him. (Isaiah 30:18 TLV)

We want to love God more than we do. Let us emulate Moses’ desire, long for Him, and expect a revelation of goodness.

Daily Bread, reading plan by Lars Enarsson (https://www.thewatchman.org/)
Day 14 of the Omer
Sat 22 Apr-2023 1st of Iyar, 5783 Parashat Tazria-Metzora
Shabbat Rosh Chodesh Day 14 of the Omer
Le 15:16-33, Nu 28:9-15 Isa 66:1-24 Rev 21:1-8