Rabbi’s Reflections – Thursday, June 11, 2020
The Shema, lesson 3. Oops! Did I fail to mention we are studying what Yeshua calls the greatest commandment? Matthew 22:36 “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Torah?” 37 And He said to him, “‘You shall love Adonai your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and greatest commandment.
Rabbi Trail: Time for a short Hebrew lesson. I may use these terms from time to time. A book is a “Safer.” The “Safer Torah” is how we refer to the Torah Scroll in Hebrew. A chapter is a “Perek.” This would be followed by a Hebrew letter(s) to indicate which chapter. Perek Aleph would be chapter 1. Lastly, a “Pasuk” is a verse. This may also be followed by the number of the verse using the Hebrew letters as numbers. Now you know how to study the Bible by “Perek and Pasuk” (chapter and verse) in Hebrew. End RT.
Yesterday we covered “You shall love the Lord, your God.” Today we learn to what degree the Lord commands us to love Him. “B’chol Levavcha, U’V’Chol Nafshecha, U’V’Chol M’odecha.” Let’s break it down into its obvious 3 components.
A “Lev” is a heart (Lamed – Bet). It is also expresses (as it is here) as “Levav” (Lamed-Bet-Bet). The “Cha” at the end of “Levavcha” is contracted and attached, meaning “to you” or “your” (same as yesterday). Given this quantifier to love God with “all your heart,” what does that mean?
It means we set our heart on God.
Rabbi Trail: Our heart is representative of our free will. Asher Intrater has taught us how the heart of man made a mess of God’s perfect creation, and now we need the power of God to put our lives back in right order. End RT.
“In all your heart” also means that everything else cascades from that single truth. “All” means, “Put God first.” “All” does not means to, “Ignore all else,” but to let “all else” receive its meaning out of our love for God. This is how this verse becomes the greatest commandment, because it is the proverbial “top button” of the “faith shirt.” Get this wrong, and nothing else lines up.
A “Nefesh” is a soul. It is the basic word in “Nafshecha” meaning “your soul.” It is our intellect, our character. It is first used to describe Adam who is created, after God breathed on him, and made him a “L’Nefesh chaya,” a living soul. A “Nefesh” is the means by which we think to ourselves. Our Nefesh is where we are functioning when we decide to do what we do when no one else is looking. This is God’s way of telling us to turn our attention toward Him. We hear His call in our “nefesh.”
The last of our qualifiers, “Meodecha,” is based on the Hebrew word “Me’od.” Me’od means “very much” or “more” or “add to it.” We usually translate it as “very.” So this qualifier means “what ever makes you very much of anything, that ‘whatever’ should love God, too.” In case anything was left out of the previous two qualifiers, then there is this “meodecha.”
This is why we have the phrase in Colossians 3:11b but Messiah is all, and in all. He has all our hearts. He has all our souls. And He has everything else we can add to it. He is the reality of all things and all our desire should be for Him and for the benefit of His kingdom. Song of Songs 7: 11(10) I am my lover’s, and his desire is for me. This is a love affair of which we need not be ashamed. Go ahead, give Yeshua your all.
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: Consider these 3 verses… Can you tell why I chose them?
Answer: First the 3 verses, then why I chose them.
Jeremiah 2:5 Thus says Adonai: “What fault did your fathers find in Me that they strayed so far from Me? They walked after worthless things, becoming worthless themselves?
Jeremiah 2:11 Has a nation changed its gods— even though they are not gods? Yet My people have exchanged their glory for worthless things.
Jeremiah 2:22 Even though you wash with lye and use an abundance of soap, the stain of your iniquity is before Me.” It is a declaration of the Lord Adonai.
God has a way with words. What He says is abundantly clear. We have a problem and it is named “rebellion.” This is described in these 3 verses as worthless, worthless and “the stain of iniquity.” The children of Israel rejected (by not following/obeying/having faith in) the one true and living God.
“So what,” you ask? “That was them. Here we are 2800 years after Jeremiah wrote those words. We have the benefit of Yeshua HaMashiach and His crucifixion, the benefit of New Covenant faith.” Unless we stay vigilant, we also will become deceived. Matthew 24:24 For false messiahs and false prophets will rise up and show great signs and wonders so as to lead astray, if possible, even the chosen.
God knows we need protection from deception. We are His lambs and He is the good shepherd.
Hebrews 4:14 Therefore, since we have a great Kohen Gadol who has passed through the heavens, Yeshua Ben-Elohim, let us hold firmly to our confessed allegiance.
Stay vigilant my friends.