Rabbi’s Reflections – Tuesday, April 28, 2020 


Counting the Omer – Day 17

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

Today we continue our discussion of the longing to be wholehearted and passionate with God (without restraint and with full abandon).  This (and all of the longings) is/are connected to grace.  God gives us desire!  Let’s look at a few of the bibilical examples of being wildly in love with Yeshua.  

Miriam (Mary) and Martha were sisters in Bethany.  Yeshua was teaching in their living room (Luke 10:38).  Martha was concerned with being a good hostess and making everyone comfortable while her sister, Miriam, was riveted to Yeshua, sitting at His feet.  Martha asked Yeshua to tell her sister to get up and help with the hospitality.  Listen carefully to Yeshua’s response… Luke 10:41 But answering her, the Lord said, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and bothered about many things; 42 but only one thing is necessary. For Miriam has chosen the good part, which will not be taken away from her.”  

What is the “necessary ‘one thing’” about which Yeshua spoke?  Let’s be clear and specific.  This is the point for today, so if you wish, stop reading after you get this.  Love Yeshua above everything else.  Long for Him wholeheartedly and with passion.  Cast off all restraint and love Him with reckless abandon.  Usually, we think of “casting off all restraint” as a bad thing.  But when it comes to loving Yeshua, it’s a good thing.  

One more… Consider another Miriam, Miriam of Migdal, aka Mary Magdalene.  She was so faithful in her love for Yeshua that He even put His resurrection and the whole plan of redemption on hold to honor her.  John 20:16 Yeshua says to her, “Miriam!” Turning around, she says to Him in Aramaic, “Rabboni!” (which means Teacher). 17 Yeshua says to her, “Stop clinging to Me, for I have not yet gone up to the Father.”  

Many translators have interpreted this scene wrongly.  It does not mean, “Don’t touch Me,” but “Don’t cling to me as teacher.  Rather, step back and see Me as the risen Lord, for I am about to go to My Father.”  Our love for Yeshua must be both as Savior and as Lord.  As Savior, Yeshua redeems us from destruction.  As Lord, He gives us new life that is holy and sanctified unto Him.  

It is as Lord that Yeshua says to us, John 14:15 “If you love Me, you will keep My commandments.”  It is as Lord that Yeshua must be obeyed.  “Thy will be done as it is in heaven.” (Matthew 6:10b)  It is the failure to receive Him as Lord that results in… Matthew 7:23 “Then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you. Get away from Me, you workers of lawlessness!’”

Tomorrow we will continue this discussion by examining the reciprocal nature of this longing.  We are created in God’s image, so He also has these longings.  Therefore our love is reciprocal.  We love Him AND He loves us.  I want to go further in to the very nature of that love.   

Week 18
Memory Verse:  Psalm 1:1 Happy is the one who has not walked in the advice of the wicked, nor stood in the way of sinners, nor sat in the seat of scoffers. 2 But his delight is in the Torah of Adonai, and on His Torah he meditates day and night. 3 He will be like a planted tree over streams of water, producing its fruit during its season. Its leaf never droops— but in all he does, he succeeds. 4 The wicked are not so. For they are like chaff that the wind blows away. 5 Therefore the wicked will not stand during the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous. 6 For Adonai knows the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked leads to ruin.

86    4/27      Monday:        Psalm 51

* 87  4/28      Tuesday:       2 Samuel 24; Psalm 24 

88    4/29      Wednesday:  Psalm 1; 19

89    4/30      Thursday:      Psalm 103; 119:1-48

90    5/01      Friday:           Psalm 119:49-128     

Question of the day:  How much is a threshing floor and a yoke of oxen (including the yoke)?

Answer:  50 shekels of silver.  But is that significant?  Yes, 50 is very significant in God’s economy.  We count 50 days from Yom HaBikurim (First Fruits) to Shavuot (Pentecost).  These are 49 days of counting the Omer plus the day of the Shavuot holiday itself.  

These 49 days (a week of weeks) form a season of preparation to receive great blessing.  The 50th day is a double blessing.  In the year of the Exodus from Egypt, (according to rabbinic tradition) that was the day of the giving of the Torah (Law).  About 1,500 years later the Holy Spirit came with power upon the new believers in Jerusalem on that same date on the Hebrew calendar.  

In our reading today, at the end of 2 Samuel, King David prayed and his sacrifice was accepted to stop the plague before it came to Jerusalem.  In that very same place, on Shavuot 1,000 years later, the opposite occurred in Jerusalem, the great blessing of the giving of the Holy Spirit.  3,000 new followers of Yeshua were filled with the Spirit on that day.  That same power (wonder-working power) is available to us today.  

And here is a tie to the next holiday, the Feast of Trumpets, in the fall of the year.  Yom Teruah (Rosh Hashanah) begins our 10 days of awe.  The reality of this is the coronation of Yeshua as King.  Then these days of preparation culminate in Yom Kippur (the Day of Atonement).  This is really the end of 40 days of preparation beginning at the start of the Hebrew month Elul (30 days of Elul plus 10 days of awe in the month of Tishre).  

Psalm 24 is connected in our reading for today.  It is part of the Yom Teruah liturgy found in a special prayer book used just for Yom Teruah and Yom Kippur called a Machzor.  Machzor uses the Hebrew Shoresh “Chazar” (chet-zion-resh) which means “return.”  Psalm 24:3 Who may go up on the mountain of Adonai? `Who may stand in His holy place? 4 One with clean hands and a pure heart, who has not lifted his soul in vain, nor sworn deceitfully. 5 He will receive a blessing from Adonai, righteousness from God his salvation.

And there it is.  That last phrase says it all.  “Righteousness from God’s Yeshua.  Yeshua said it, and there is no way around it… John 14:6 Yeshua said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life! No one comes to the Father except through Me.”  Yes, Yeshua is the great “I AM.”