Rabbi’s Reflections – Saturday, June 13, 2020 

Shabbat Shalom,

Shema lesson 5 – The next six words, “Asher Anochi M’tzav’cha HaYom Al L’vavecha” are explained below.  Summarily, they are translated into English as “(these words or things) which I am commanding you today (are to be) on your heart.”

Asher – This “Asher” is not that “Asher.”  There is an Asher spelled with an Ayen (similar sounding) that means riches.  This word, spelled with an aleph has many possible meanings.  

Sometimes words that are spelled the same and pronounced the same, have different meanings.  Whoever heard of that?  Well, us!  They are called “homographs.”  They are homonyms that sound alike.  

Asher can mean joy and happiness, (the tribe of Asher comes from this meaning), or it can mean “which” or “that” (as in “asher kid’shanu” which is part of many blessings and means “Who made us holy” or “sanctified us”).  It can also mean “guide,” or “blessed” (as in “Ashre”).  

Anochi – means “I AM.”  It is a biblical Hebrew word that is usually used when God is referring to Himself.  This is the first word of the 10 commandments in both Exodus and in Deuteronomy. (Ex 20:2 and Deuteronomy 5:6).

M’tzav’cha  This one is a pure homophone (words spelled differently but sound alike).  There is Tzav (Tzadi-Bet), meaning “host” or “army” (as in “Lord of hosts”) and there is Tzav (Tzadi-Vav) like here, meaning “command” as it is used here.  The “Mem” in front makes it a noun.  The “cha” at the end makes it “to you.”  So it becomes a gerund (verb that takes on the form and function of a noun), “(God is) commanding to you.”

HaYom – Some letters (like this “Y”) are capitalized in the transliteration to show there is a prefix.  HaYom literally means “the day,” but idiomatically it means “today.”  God is telling us when He is commanding us.  And guess what?  It is always today.  So God’s command is eternal (new every morning).

Al – means “on.”  It is the second part of the airline El-Al’s name.  It is spelled Ayen-Lamed, but it also has a homophone (Aleph-Lamed) which means “don’t” and is the first word of many of the 10 Commandments.  Our word, Ayen-Lamed, is a preposition.  Like many of the prepositions it can have many translations into English; on, to, for, about, and many more.  

L’vav’cha – A “Lev” (Lamed-Bet) is a heart as used previously in Deuteronomy 6:5, usually with a second “Bet” as in “Levav.”  The “cha” at the end is (same as before) a contraction of “L’cha” meaning “to you.”  This is also a word that is translated in various way throughout the Scriptures.  It can mean “cakes” (5 times) and it is used 7 times to mean “mind,” but it is used more than 260 times to mean heart.  We have the Hebrew idiom “Simu Lev” which literally means “y’all put (your) heart” but translates idiomatically as “pay attention.”

What do we do with God’s command to love Him?  Pay attention!  Many of us have made this commitment to God.  “Tell me what to do and I’ll do it.”  Then we wait.  God is saying, “What are we waiting for?”  (Okay, God speaks proper English, “For what are you waiting?”)  

He tells us right here to stop waiting and start doing.  Yes, God is saying right here in the Bible to, “Take this command to love Me and put it on/in your heart (this is written in the singular so it is a command for each of us individually).”  

Remember that loving God is what this is all about.  V’O’hav’ta “‘And you shall love’ the Lord your God with all your heart.”  Until we have a change of heart, this is foreign to us.  Our body is designed to reject a foreign object or substance.  Yeshua, through His once for all time blood sacrifice, provides that singular transfusion we need to enable us to love Him the way we were created to love Him.  May His name be blessed forever.  Amen.

We’ll get more instruction on Monday with the next 4 words.  Tomorrow, Raymond Finney will bring the RR.  Until we meet again, “L’hitraot” and Shabbat shalom.