Rabbi’s Reflections – Tuesday, July 13, 2021
Boker Tov (I’m writing this in the morning),
As you can see from the Daily Bread reading plan, today (Tuesday) is the 4th of Av. 5 days from today will be the 9th of Av (Tisha B’Av). That is the day recognized on the Jewish calendar to commemorate the destruction of both the first and second Temples. https://www.myjewishlearning.com/article/tisha-bav-101/
Tisha B’Av will begin at sundown on Saturday night and continue until sundown on Sunday, July 18th. We have no special services or other activities planned as a community at Shomair. Everyone is free to commemorate the day as the Lord leads you individually. Over the next several days I plan to write some of what I have to say about it.
Tisha B’Av is huge in the orthodox Jewish community.
Rabbi Trail: I have to say “orthodox Jewish” so you will know I don’t mean “Greek Orthodox” or any other orthopractic which is defined as “right belief combined with right practice.” Many of you may not be aware my nickname in high school was “Webster.” Can you see why? End RT.
Tisha B’Av is lost on much of the non-orthodox Jewish community. Mostly because it always falls in the middle of the summer, when people are on vacation (including rabbis), schools are out (Including Jewish Sunday school – yes, Jewish children in conservative synagogues and reform temples have Sunday school), and it is certainly not a cause for celebration; there is no party connected to Tisha B’Av. Tisha B’Av brings up unpleasant memories of our past behavior as the people of God. All that to say, people outside orthodox Judaism don’t have much to do with Tisha B’Av.
About those unpleasant memories… The destruction of the first Temple (Solomon built it, and it stood for about 400 years) happened about 2600 years ago. There is a 165 year discrepancy in the year of its destruction between rabbinical sources and secular sources. The second Temple was started by Nehemiah, but rebuilt into a grand edifice by Herod the Great. It was destroyed not quite 2,000 years ago. Both of those destructions took place on Tisha B’Av and have left a scar on the collective memory of Jewish people to this day.
These things happen to a people and a culture. Most recently, September 11, 2001 is such a day for the American psyche. Less recently December 7, 1941 is “a date which will live in infamy” with similar affect. The Palestinian people feel pain over Jerusalem Day. That day is when Jewish people celebrate the reunification of Jerusalem, but Palestinians call it Nakba Day meaning the “day of the tragedy.” It was 54 years ago in 1967 that Jerusalem was unified under Jewish control near the end of the Six Day War.
My point is that we should not marginalize Tisha B’Av just because it is history. It is a sign that God removed his hand of blessing from His chosen people. Some people would like us to believe that separation was permanent, but God has something to say on that subject. You may want to reread Romans 11.
Romans 11:11a I say then, they (Israel) did not stumble so as to fall, did they? May it never be!… 26a and in this way all Israel will be saved…. 29 for the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable. Romans 11:25 seems to indicate that the blindness of Israel is temporary, “until the fullness of the gentiles has come in.” Temporary blindness is not the same as permanent blindness.
Yes, Israel is in the Old Testament and the last mention is the beginning of the rebuilding of the Temple, and Israel is mentioned in the New Testament along with that rebuilt Temple. The destruction of Temples will not define us as a people. Our relationship with the long awaited Messiah, Yeshua, will. Romans 11:15b what will their acceptance be but life from the dead? What? You need one more prooftext? Romans 11:2a God has not rejected His people whom He knew beforehand.
That’s it for today. Blessings.
Daily Bread, reading plan by Lars Enarson (https://www.thewatchman.org/)
Tue 13 July 2021 4th of Av, 5781
De 1:22-1:38 Ez 27 1 Ch 7 (Lk 23:1-25) Col 3
Have you ever thought “God hates me?” Deuteronomy 1:27 In your tents you grumbled and said: ‘Because Adonai hates us, He has brought us out from the land of Egypt to hand us over to the Amorites, to destroy us! Apparently, the children of Israel did. I believe from time to time many of us also think similarly.
Take a minute a reflect on the low points of your life. Those worst moments, days, weeks, years when you felt abandoned or forsaken. This is why we have faith, to sustain us through the tough times. Let me share a truth with you. God loves you. He knows you (in detail), and He loves you anyway. He gave His Son for you.
Yeshua appeared to Jeremiah and said this. (If He has not yet appeared to you and said the same thing, He will.). Jeremiah 31:2(3) “From afar Adonai appeared to me.” “Yes, I have loved you with an everlasting love. Therefore I have drawn you with lovingkindness.” And that “lovingkindness” is “Chesed” or “grace.” In His grace, God loves you. It is a lie to believe that God hates you or ever hated you. His love never fails (1 Corinthians 13:8a). “Betach” means “you can count on it.”
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: The last phrase of Nehemiah 9:37 applies to us today as well. “We are in great distress!” What is the answer to this problem?
Answer: In Nehemiah’s day, the people made a covenant with God, a covenant which they could not keep. Their answer was to promise their way out of trouble. To this day, Jewish people believe their prayers are a substitute for the sacrifices of Temple worship (that is no longer possible). Similarly, we may be tempted to rely on our prayers as way out of distress. But God is calling us into covenant relationship with Him through the sacrifice of His Son.
Hebrews 4:16 Therefore let us draw near to the throne of grace with boldness, so that we may receive mercy and find grace for help in time of need.