Rabbi’s Reflections – Monday, July 12, 2021


It is such a blessing to be writing to you today.  It’s the start of a new week (I’m writing this on Sunday).  Tonight we have our last (of 7) Toward Membership classes.  By the time most of you read this, it will be over.  Later this week, Lars Enarson, along with his wife and son’s family will be flying into Knoxville from Israel.  You can learn more about Lars here… https://www.thewatchman.org/ .  As you can see, he is the author of the “Daily Bread” reading plan.  Interesting that he named his ministry “The Watchman” ais a good translation of “Shomair.”  We must be related.  Certainly with in the family of God we are.

Daily Bread, reading plan by Lars Enarson (https://www.thewatchman.org/)

Mon 12 July 2021 3rd of Av, 5781

De 1:11-21Ez 261 Ch 6(Lk 22:39-71)Col 2

This week, the Torah portion comes from the first portion of Deuteronomy.  This makes sense, since we finished the book of Numbers last Shabbat.  In Hebrew, each book of the Torah gets its name from the first portion of that book.  Which, like all the other Torah portions, takes its name from the first significant word in that portion.  

Deuteronomy begins “Ayleh HaD’varim” meaning “these (are) the words.”  So “D’varim” is the Hebrew name for Deuteronomy.  Deuteronomy is a repetition of Exodus (Shemot), Leviticus  (VaYikra) and Numbers (Bamid’bar).  Hence the name “Deut” which is a duet, or duplication, of everything that happened to Israel from the Exodus until the time of its writing.  

Each Torah portion is broken up into 7 Aliyahs (“Aliyot”).  The rabbis were very particular about where each one would end.  Generally speaking, they do not end on a sour note.  This is true of our reading today as well.  Moses is recounting how the children of Israel approached the promised land 40 years earlier.  That part of the story didn’t end well.  So our reading today ends with this (before the rest of the bad ending)… Deuteronomy 1:21 See, Adonai your God has set the land before you—go up, take possession, as Adonai God of your fathers has promised you. Do not be afraid or discouraged.’  

The instruction was good.  However; the response was not, but the response is part of the reading for tomorrow.  Today I want to focus on the last four Hebrew words of the Aliyah, “Al-Tira, V’Al-Tay’chat.”  “Al” means “don’t,” and “V’Al” means “and don’t.”  So, what are the two “don’t”s?  “Yara” is “fear” and “Chatat” is “dismay.”  Moses is saying that the instructions were not to be afraid nor to lose heart (be dismayed).  

Our world today is going crazy.  Everything is turning upside down.  Everything is “topsy-turvy.”  We must not fear these things.  1 John 4:4 You are from God, children, and you have overcome them, because greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world.  And we must not be dismayed.  2 Corinthians 4:15 For all things are for your sakes, so that the grace that is spreading through more and more people may cause thanksgiving to overflow—to the glory of God. 16 Therefore we do not lose heart. Though our outward man is decaying, yet our inward man is renewed day by day.

Isaiah actually echos the same concepts as Deuteronomy 1:21, so he gets the last word today.  Isaiah 41:9 I took hold of you from the ends of the earth, and called from its uttermost parts, and said to you, ‘You are My servant— I have chosen you, not rejected you. 10 Fear not, for I am with you, be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you. Surely I will help you. I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.

Week 29
Memory Verse: Nehemiah 9:6 You alone are Adonai.You made the heavens, even the highest heaven with all its array, the earth and everything on it, the seas and everything in them. You give life to them all, and the multitudes of heaven worship You.

* 141 7/12  Monday:        Nehemiah 7-8 

142   7/13  Tuesday:       Nehemiah 9

143   7/14  Wednesday:  Nehemiah 10

144   7/15  Thursday:      Nehemiah 11

145   7/16  Friday:           Nehemiah 12

The question of the day:  What is the narrative of Nehemiah 8?

Answer:  This is great chapter with a great story.  Ezra read the Word of God from the Torah and the people received it with a heart to obey it.  Ezra read it on the first day of the 7th month (Rosh Hashana – this year it will be celebrated beginning Monday night, September 6th).  The first day of the 7th month has a more biblical name, Yom Teruah (the day of the blast).  On that day we will sound the Shofar. (More on all of this later.).  The point is two fold.  Be sure to obey God’s instructions, and be glad when you are given the opportunity to obey Him.  This will give us the best of everything.  Obeying God even more, and enjoying it way more.  Until tomorrow, shalom.