Rabbi’s Reflections – Monday, May 11, 2020
Counting the Omer – Day 30
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 four weeks and two days of the counting of the Omer.
Today we begin six days of writing on the longing for beauty. Beauty is a powerful force found in God’s order. In Genesis, chapter 1 it is all good when God describes His creation, and then it improves to “very good” when God describes the creation of man. Our longing to feel and be beautiful mirrors God’s longing for beauty. His desire for beauty is one reason God created the world and everything in it. Song of Songs 4:7 You are altogether lovely, my darling, and no blemish is in you.
Like all the other longings, beauty is impossible to satisfy outside of a grace relationship with the Lord. And also like the other longings, our problems arise from our efforts to satisfy our God-given desire for beauty outside of our relationship with Him.
We all long to be in the presence of that which is beautiful. Even the prophet Samuel couldn’t resist beauty. This is why he chose Saul to be Israel’s first king. 1 Samuel 9:2 and he (Kish, a Benjamite) had a son whose name was Saul—young and handsome—there was no one among Bnei-Yisrael better than him. From his shoulders and up he was taller than any of the people.
Rabbi Trail: Speaking of my personal desire for beauty, I am acutely (emphasis on “cute”) aware of the need for grace. Love covers a multitude of sins, but grace covers a multitude of ugly. Grace even has the power to transform ugly into beauty, ever heard of turning darkness into light? Well, that was God’s first explosion of beauty. End RT.
Anything and anyone submitted to God’s authority is beautiful. 1 Peter 3:3 Don’t let your beauty be external—braiding the hair and wearing gold jewelry or fine clothes. 4 Instead let it be in the hidden person of the heart, with the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God’s sight is very precious.
One of Yeshua’s Hebrew names is “Pele,” meaning “wonderful,” and this is synonymous with “beautiful.” Isaiah 9:5(6)a For to us a child is born, a son will be given to us, and the government will be upon His shoulder. His Name will be called Wonderful….
The desire for beauty is a powerful desire that the enemy is always willing to twist into vanity. Vanity is love of the world and what is in it while true desire for beauty abides in our relationship with God. 1 John 2:15 Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16 For everything in the world—the desire of the flesh, the desire of the eyes, and the boasting of life—is not from the Father but from the world. 17 The world is passing away along with its desire, but the one who does the will of God abides forever.
More on this tomorrow.
Memory Verse: Proverbs 1:7 The fear of Adonai is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and discipline.
* 96 5/11 Monday: Proverbs 1-2
97 5/12 Tuesday: Proverbs 3-4
98 5/13 Wednesday: Proverbs 16-18
99 5/14 Thursday: Proverbs 31
100 5/15 Friday: 1 Kings 11-12
Question of the day: What is wrong with our memory verse this week?
Answer: Here is our memory verse. Proverbs 1:7 The fear of Adonai is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and discipline. There is nothing wrong with the verse. I just want to highlight one word; it’s the word translated “fear.”
We say, “Raysheet Da’at Yirat Adonai” meaning “the beginning of knowledge is the fear of the Lord,” from the start of Proverbs 1:7. Let’s break this down. It’s unfortunate the operative word “Yirat” has to be translated “fear.” The better translation of this word is “reverence.” Consider the context of this verse that has the same word in it. We sing it as part of the “Ma-Tovu” prayer…. Psalm 5:8(7) But because of your great lovingkindness (grace), I will enter Your House. I will bow toward Your holy Temple, in awe of You. (B’yiratecha)
We fear touching a hot stove. That is a healthy fear. Our reverence for God should not be “fear” (afraid) based, but rather it should be based on our awesome wonder. Our awesome wonder should be anchored in love for Him, not in being scared He will harm us.
Back to our subject verse, the first thing we must know is that we should have awesome wonder of the power and majesty of God. The option presented by our verse is to know something about a healthy respect for God or be a fool in despising wisdom and discipline (instruction). We cannot “choose wisely” and “despise wisdom” at the same time. Choose wisely my friends.