Rabbi’s Reflections – Wednesday, June 10, 2020 


Part 2 of the Shema.  The complete Shema is really made up of 3 sections of Scripture:  http://www.jewfaq.org/shemaref.htm 

1. Deuteronomy 6:4-9

2. Deuteronomy 11:13-21

3. Numbers 15:37-41

For now, we are only going to focus on the first section.  Let’s presume that you are able to master the six words of Deut 6:4 on your own.  The first phrase of Deut 6:5 is “V’Ohavta Et Adonai(YHVH) Elohecha.  Those 4 words are all we are going to study today.  

The first word has a Shoresh of “Aleph-Hay-Bet” meaning love. The verb is in the past tense, second person, singular (you have loved).  The “Vav” is a converse that changes the tense into the future.  The future tense, second person singular is always the command form, “You shall….”  In this first word of Deut 6:5, V’Ohavta, “You shall love.”  

Before we go on, we must define this command.  What does it mean to love God?  Love has to be more than an emotion or feeling.  Our modern society actually throws this word around a lot.  “I love my new i-phone” might be heard today.  

Try this.  It’s my effort, but I can tell you already it can be improved.  “Love is  having a heartfelt desire to foster the God-given destiny of another, in a preeminent manner that exceeds desire for self.”  It might even be defined as desiring the God-given destiny of another to a degree that IS rewarding at a high level to self.  Therefore, true love involves an intermingling of destiny.  When we think of loving God, we connect to (our desire joins with His desire for) advancing His kingdom.   

The Hebrew word “Et” (aleph-tav) is made up of the first and last letters.  The word itself has no meaning but is a grammatical convention to identify the direct object of the sentence which always immediately follows “Et.”

What follows is “Yud-Hay-Vav-Hay,” the name of God usually translated as “Lord” but in Hebrew the unspoken (ineffable) name of God, Yehovah.  This is the one who is the object of our love.

The last word, “Elohecha” is another name for God, “Elohai.”  The “Cha” at the end is a contraction of “L’cha” that means “to you.”  Therefore, “Elohecha” means “your God.”  Whose God?  The object of our love is the God Who belongs to YOU, “your God.”

So the first phrase commands us, “You shall love the Lord, your God.”  What follows tomorrow is an explanation of degree.  How much shall we love God? 

Week 24
Memory Verse:  Proverbs 29:18 Where there is no divine vision people cast off restraint, but blessed is the one who keeps Torah.

116     6/8      Monday:        2 Kings 17-18 

117     6/9      Tuesday:       2 Kings 19-21

* 118   6/10    Wednesday:  2 Kings 22-23

119     6/11    Thursday:      Jeremiah 1-3:5

120     6/12    Friday:          Jeremiah 25; 29

Question of the day:  What is wisdom?

Answer:  Wisdom can be defined in many ways.  Here is one of my favorites.  “Wisdom is learning from someone else’s mistakes.”  Young people seem to insist on always making their own mistakes.  Why?  Go ahead, learn the lessons of life, but (I ask humbly as a poor example) does it always have to be so hard?  God is trying to shorten our learning curve by giving us His Word (of wisdom).

Josiah was a righteous king of Judah.  Those who came before him and after him, quite the opposite.  We have the same choice as those kings.  Will we walk with God according to His righteous principles, like Josiah; or will we follow our own heart and own eyes after which we use to go astray, like the many other kings of Israel?

Numbers 15:39 It will be your own tzitzit (fringes)—so whenever you look at them, you will remember all the mitzvot (commandments) of Adonai and do them and not go spying out after your own hearts and your own eyes, prostituting yourselves. 40 This way you will remember and obey all My mitzvot and you will be holy to your God.

Yeshua put it this way… John 14:15 “If you love Me, you will keep My commandments.  That’s not advice from the only wise God, it’s a commandment, but only the wise will obey Him.  Solomon asked for wisdom and we should too.