Rabbi’s Reflections – Wednesday, May 6, 2020 


Counting the Omer – Day 25

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

Rabbi Trail:  Wednesday is the 4th day of the week.  It’s name in Hebrew is Yom Revi’i.  It has the consonant digraph “resh-bet” which is the consonant digraph of “Raba” meaning much, “Harbay” meaning plenty and “Rav” meaning “rabbi.”  In that sense, Wednesday is rabbi’s day.  Well, I’m glad about it.  End RT.

Let’s review:  From the Sunday of Passover (the first day after the Sabbath of Passover, see Leviticus 23:15), we count 7 full weeks (49 days).  Then on the 50th day we celebrate Shavuot, the Feast of Weeks.  These 50 days commemorate the 50 days between Yeshua’s resurrection and the giving of the Holy Spirit on Shavuot (Pentecost).

In the first 40 days of the counting, Yeshua taught the disciples about the kingdom of God (Acts 1:3).  As He was taken up into heaven, His instructions to the group was to wait in Jerusalem (Acts 1:4).  Then on Shavuot, the Holy Spirit fell with power (Acts 2:1-3).

All this to ask, what are we counting?  What is the Omer?  The Omer is a measure of the barley harvest (first grain).  It is a symbol of God’s provision and favor.  So we take 49 days to count our blessings.  This year our focus is on the blessing of our relationship with Yeshua HaMashiach and how that relationship is only fulfilled in the development and manifestation of the longings of the human heart.  

We are created in God’s image.  God has these longings (which is why He created the world, to satisfy them) and He has created us with these same longings (so we will long for Him). We are only studying 7, as detailed in Mike Bickle’s book The Seven Longings Of The Human Heart.  Think of it this way, we are created in the image of God.  Adam and Eve were at perfect shalom with God, until the rebellion in the Garden and sin entered the world.

Since then Adam and Eve, and all their progeny, have been restless.  Our “shalom” has been disturbed.  Understanding these longings and properly orienting them into our relationship with God helps us find that long lost shalom.  Longings, by definition, long to be satisfied.  Our problems arise out of attempting to satisfy these God-given longings outside of our relationship with God.   End of review.

Now let’s continue our discussion of the longing to be intimate (ideally with God) without shame.

Revelation 3:20 Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and will dine with him, and he with Me.  Yeshua knocks, we unlock; not just any door, but the door to our hearts.  God binds up and heals our weak and broken hearts, and proceeds to grant us an intimate relationship with Him.

Yeshua fulfills His role as our high priest in a way that neither Aaron nor any of his sons ever could.  They had the blood of animals, while Yeshua offered His own blood.  Hebrews 4:15 For we do not have a kohen gadol who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all the same ways—yet without sin. 16 Therefore let us draw near to the throne of grace with boldness, so that we may receive mercy and find grace for help in time of need.

Yeshua understands shame.  Hebrews 12:2 focusing on Yeshua, the initiator and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before Him, He endured the cross, disregarding its shame; and He has taken His seat at the right hand of the throne of God.  Yeshua had to understand shame in order to overcome shame.  Because He overcame shame, He can offer us a relationship free from shame, because of His victory.  The prophet Joel prophesied over the people of God.  Joel 2:26 “You will surely eat and be satisfied, and praise the Name of Adonai your God, who has dealt wondrously with you. Never again will My people be shamed.”

Week 19
Memory Verse:  Psalm 139:1 For the music director: a psalm of David. Adonai, You searched me and know me. 2 Whenever I sit down or stand up, You know it. You discern my thinking from afar. 3 You observe my journeying and my resting and You are familiar with all my ways.

91    5/04      Monday:        Psalm 119:129-176; 139

92    5/05      Tuesday:       Psalm 148-150 

* 93  5/06      Wednesday:  1 Kings 2

94    5/07      Thursday:      1 Kings 3; 6 

95    5/08      Friday:           1 Kings 8; 9:1-9   

Question of the day:  Excuse me, Rabbi Michael, how would you describe the deeper meaning of 1 Kings 2:2?

Answer: I’m glad you asked.  1 Kings 2:2 “I—I am going the way of all the earth. So be strong and be a man.”  The last phrase is properly translated “and you will be a man.”  But that thought is the product of a previous thought, “be strong.”  The Hebrew word for “strong” used throughout Scripture is “Chazak.”

We say this word 3 times as a congregation every time we finish reading a book of the Torah.  “Chazak, Chazak, V’Nit’chazek” meaning “be strong, be strong, and strengthen each other.”  In fact, it’s this meaning that points to the truth that none of us can obey God properly outside of community.  May I prove it to you?  

What is the greatest commandment?  Deuteronomy 6:5 Love Adonai your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.  Yes, and what does God say about loving Him?  1 John 4:20b For the one who does not love his brother, whom he has seen, cannot love God, whom he has not seen.  

We cannot “love” outside of community.  Community must be covenantal.  Without covenant, all “love” is perverted into lust.  Solomon is commanded by David to be strong and in doing so Solomon will become a man.  A “man” is not just a male member of the human race who reached adequate age.  The Yiddish word, mensch, comes to mind.  A mensch is a man’s man, who always does the right thing, even when it is inconvenient or uncomfortable for himself.  A mensch always loves in covenant.  If he didn’t, he wouldn’t be a mensch any longer.  

One last note… while this verse is written (like most of the Bible) about men (David and Solomon were male), and uses masculine descriptors, it is very important for women to see themselves in this verse.  Strength of character is also important for women.  In marriage, the woman is the female portion of the life partnership.  That partnership rises or falls on the strength of character of both partners.  Live strong my friends.