Rabbi’s Reflections – Friday, June 5, 2020 

(Early) Shabbat Shalom,

Yes, there is a difference.  For the next 5 weeks (6 weeks if you include last week) the weekly Torah portion in Israel is one week ahead of the diaspora.  (Any Jewish person living outside the land of Israel is considered to be living in the diaspora.)  Then on July 4th, the Jews in the diaspora read a double portion while in Israel only a single portion is read and we return to reading the same Torah portion all over the world the following week.  How did this happen?  The Jews in the diaspora celebrate 2 days of Shavuot while the Jews in Israel only celebrate one day.  

Rabbi Trail:  We at Shomair, even though we live in the diaspora, follow the Israel calendar (for a few reasons I may or may not explain at a later date).  Yes, I’m feeling frisky today.  End RT.

This year, the second day of Shavuot fell on Shabbat, May 30th.  So in the diaspora we read a special portion for the second day of Shavuot while in Israel there is no second day of Shavuot, so the next Torah portion (Behar) was read.  Behar is being read this week in the diaspora.  So it goes like this (just so you’ll know and we can clear up any confusion)…

2020 Diaspora Israel

5/30 Shavuot 2 Behar

6/6 Behar Behaolatcha

6/13 ּBehaolatcha Shalach

6/20 Shelach Korach

6/27 Korach Chukat

7/4 Chukat/Balak Balak

7/11 Pinchas Pinchas

Today we continue the discussion on the value of an effective prayer life.  Yesterday we mentioned the value placed on relationships in the kingdom of God.  And the most important relationship, the one relationship that informs all the other relationships, is our relationship with Yeshua.  And our relationship with Yeshua is a love relationship.

John 15:13 No one has greater love than this: that he lay down his life for his friends.

But that verse is the “meat” sandwiched between these two “slices of bread.”  John 15:12 “This is My commandment, that you love one another just as I have loved you…. 14 You are My friends if you do what I command you.  These two “bread” verses describe the cross.

The cross is a roadmap for the kingdom of God.  The vertical beam is Yeshua saying, “I love you,” and we’re saying the same back to Him.  The horizontal beam is His command to love one another.  They cross over His heart and His blood is on them both.  

If you think I’m being exhaustive on some of these themes, I’m not.  There are readers of the RR who are not yet understanding this effort of communication, (certainly not you) so let me state it plainly and then (maybe) we’ll move on.   To have a successful prayer life we must first rest in His love.  Receive His grace and stop striving.  The victory is in the spirit, not in the flesh.  

Let me offer a word on guilt and shame.  God convicts while Satan condemns.  The conviction of God will take guilt and shame and quickly convert it into a deeper relationship with Him.  The condemnation of Satan will take that same guilt and shame and use it as a stick to beat us or others.  Our urge is to run and hide.  But… 1 John 1:9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.

The Bible asks a question.  Romans 8:34 Who is the one who condemns?  Then it asks the same question another way… Romans 8:35 Who shall separate us from the love of Messiah?  Then, after describing all the possibilities of alienation from God, this is the truth… Romans 8:37 But in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. 38 For I am convinced that (nothing) will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Messiah Yeshua our Lord.

Make it a prayer and tell God, “I receive your love, in the name of Yeshua.  Amen.”  May all our communications, even if vehemently convicting, bring us closer to God while doing the same with others; this is the proof of spiritual maturity.  We must be able to speak His truth in love, to ourselves and those around us.

Week 23
Memory Verse:  Isaiah 53:5 But He was pierced because of our transgressions, crushed because of our iniquities. The chastisement for our shalom was upon Him, and by His stripes we are healed. 6 We all like sheep have gone astray. Each of us turned to his own way. So Adonai has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.

111     6/1      Monday:        Isaiah 6; 9 

112     6/2      Tuesday:       Isaiah 44-45 

113     6/3      Wednesday:  Isaiah 52-53

114     6/4      Thursday:      Isaiah 65-66

* 115   6/5      Friday:           Micah 1; 4:6-13; 5 

Question of the day:  What do these words mean at the beginning of Micah 5:4a This One will be shalom?

Answer:  I like it when the Bible, itself, answers the question of the day.  Ephesians 2:14a For He is our shalom, the One who made the two into one and broke down the middle wall of separation. Micah chapter 1 points us to the need for this man of “Shalom.”  Micah 1:5 All this is because of Jacob’s transgression and the sins of the house of Israel.

The world has a problem.  Our world today has a problem.  Every manner of evil is being unleashed.  Where have I read about that?  2 Timothy 3:1 But understand this, that in the last days hard times will come— 2 for people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy, 3 hardhearted, unforgiving, backbiting, without self-control, brutal, hating what is good, 4 treacherous, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, 5 holding to an outward form of godliness but denying its power. Avoid these people!

Even several verses later, things don’t seem to be getting better… 2 Timothy 3:12 Indeed, all who desire to live a godly life in Messiah Yeshua will be persecuted. 13 But evil men and imposters will go from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived.

We get our standing orders (these are military orders from the kingdom of God that are always in effect) in the next chapter… 2 Timothy 4:5 You, however; keep a clear mind in all things, withstand hardship, do the work of proclaiming the Good News, and fulfill your service.  This is the work of a prayer warrior.  We stand between chaos and peace and point people to Yeshua and get out of the way.

Chazah, Chazak, V’Nitchazek. (Be strong, be strong, and may we be strengthened.)   Shalom.