Rabbi’s Reflections – Thursday, April 30, 2020 


Yom HaAtzmaut (Israel Independence Day) is Wednesday (when I’m writing and publishing this RR).  The State of Israel changes everything.  Theodor Herzl (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Theodor_Herzl) was a Austro-Hungarian Jew who had a vision that Jews should have a country of their own in the ancient homeland of the Jews.  He is widely recognized today as the founder of modern Zionism.  He is even mentioned by name in the Israeli Declaration of Independence.

Sadly, Herzl died well before the State of Israel was founded.  He even died before WWI and WWII.  Yet He made a great impact in his short 44 year life (1860-1904).  The Dreyfus Affair (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dreyfus_affair) convinced him in the last 10 years of his life that Jews should have a homeland.  He wrote a political pamphlet titled Der Judenstaat (The Jewish State) 8 years before he died (1896).  In it Herzl wrote this… “”The idea I have developed in this pamphlet is an ancient one: It is the restoration of the Jewish State …”

“The decisive factor is our propelling force. And what is that force? The plight of the Jews … I am profoundly convinced that I am right, though I doubt whether I shall live to see myself proved so. Those who today inaugurate this movement are unlikely to live to see its glorious culmination. But the very inauguration is enough to inspire in them a high pride and the joy of an inner liberation of their existence …”

“Oppression and persecution cannot exterminate us. No nation on earth has endured such struggles and sufferings as we have. Jew-baiting has merely winnowed out our weaklings; the strong among us defiantly return to their own whenever persecution breaks out …”

“Wherever we remain politically secure for any length of time, we assimilate. I think this is not praiseworthy …”

“Israel is our unforgettable historic homeland …”

“Let me repeat once more my opening words: The Jews who will it shall achieve their State. We shall live at last as free men on our own soil, and in our own homes peacefully die. The world will be liberated by our freedom, enriched by our wealth, magnified by our greatness. And whatever we attempt there for our own benefit will redound mightily and beneficially to the good of all mankind.”

As believers in Yeshua, we should give God the glory.  He alone fulfills every promise… Isaiah 11:12 And he shall set up an ensign for the nations, and shall assemble the outcasts of Israel, and gather together the dispersed of Judah from the four corners of the earth.  What a privilege to live at such a time as this.

Today we write part 4 of 6 on the longing to be passionate with God.  God makes the first move to bring us into relationship with Himself by gifting us with salvation.  Romans 5:5 And hope does not disappoint, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Ruach ha-Kodesh who was given to us. 6 For while we were still helpless, at the right time Messiah died for the ungodly.

There it is, “God’s love has been poured into our hearts.”  When God’s love has been poured into our hearts, the Holy Spirit enables us to receive more of God’s love (another part of grace); and so the desire to be passionate with God is not only made possible, but increases over time.  

Why do I hate unrequited love?  (Doesn’t everybody?)  It’s because much of the time someone has fearfully resisted the passion he/she was feeling.  Love is not fulfilled until it’s mutual.  One sided love is “pining.”  Said another way, an essential element of love is this… love must be given AND received before it is fulfilled.  God loves us, and His calling on our lives is to love Him in return.  In our love relationship with God, love is given (by us and by Him) wholeheartedly and is received (by us and by Him) wholeheartedly.  

Have you ever heard this phrase before, “It’s not about you?”  Tomorrow we’re going to discuss it.  Buckle up buttercup.   

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:  What is one of King David’s favorite lines found in Psalm 103?

Answer:  Psalm 103:8 Adonai is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, and plentiful in mercy.

This verse is found in other places of Scripture including Psalm 145:8.  Interesting it is verse 8 in both Psalms.  This wording first appears in the Torah, Exodus 34:6.  It is what Moses heard as he was protected in the cleft of the rock.  Later, Moses quotes it back to God (reminding God of His own character) in Numbers 14:18.  

This same description for God is found in Nehemiah (9:17), another Psalm (86:15), Joel (2:13), Jonah (4:2), and Nahum (1:3).  Do you see why it caught my attention?  It is a ubiquitous description for God’s character.  It is also found in 3 consecutive chapters of Proverbs as a favorable description for a man (Proverbs 14:29,15:18, 16:32).  Do you suppose God wants us to be like Him?  

Recognizing the compassion of God is critical to living in His love.  God loves you.  That He is slow to anger is a benefit to us all.  Why did so many of the prophets pray these words?  It’s not likely that God forgot how compassionate He is.  The prophets, themselves, needed to hear and be reminded of God’s mercy, and so do we.  

“Plentiful in mercy” is a good translation of “Rav Chesed.”  “Rav” is the Shoresh for the title “rabbi.”  It means “one who has an abundance.”  The title doesn’t really say an abundance of what, and I don’t want you to stray too far from my point in offering your own thoughts.  My point is that God is the One Who is slow to anger and abundant in mercy.  Let’s appreciate Who He is, and pursue Him with a desire to be more like Him.  “Ad Machar” (until tomorrow), Shalom.