Rabbi’s Reflections – Tuesday, July 20, 2021


Today is slammed with appointments.  I have 4 major appointments today.  They are all expected to be lengthy and significant.  Perhaps one could be rescheduled, but better to deal with everything on one day.  I’ve done this to myself and I’m not complaining, just explaining… that I’m going to reprint the RR from July 24th & 25th, 2018.  Here you go…

From a study on Psalm 23…

תַּעֲרֹךְ    לְפָנַי ׀    שֻׁלְחָן    נֶגֶד.   צֹרְרָי.  דִּשַּׁנְתָּ    בַשֶּׁמֶן.  רֹאשִׁי כֹּוסִי רְוָיָה׃

R’vayah Kosi Roshi Vashmen Kish’n’ta Tzor’ray Neged Shul’chan L’fanay Ta’aroch

Psalms 23:5 You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You have anointed my head with oil, my cup overflows.

The first word of this verse is Ta’aroch which is from the same root as Orech.  It means to set out in order or arrange for display.  The second time this word is used in Scripture is when Abraham is preparing to sacrifice Isaac.  The Scripture says he “arranged” the wood on the altar.  

Every word in the Bible is carefully chosen by God.  Not one letter is out of place (each one carefully arranged).  So word choices are always significant.  Abraham “arranged” the wood for his son on Mount Moriah.  In using the same word, God is connecting these events.  God (being addressed in Psalm 23:5) will arrange (the command form “You will” is used) a table (made of wood) symbolic of God’s Son Who (when this Psalm was written), had not yet been sacrificed on a cross (of wood).

This table is set out, in order by God.  “Before me” is to say “by appointment.”  Your place at the table is set out by God specifically for you (and no one else).  Your name is engraved at your place.  

Now, I want to write about one more word, “Neged.”  It is a word whose Shoresh (see RT below) is used 150 times with no less than 22 definitions.  Those definitions appear quite diverse.

Rabbi Trail:  If you don’t know what a “Shoresh” is because you are new to the RR or may have forgotten, Google search “Shoresh root” and then you will know.  This applies for any term I use in these writings with which you are not familiar.  Google search what you don’t understand.  Up until now I have explained everything, but I want to move on from basic teaching.  I am hereby making each reader responsible for his/her own education.  Do what your other teachers have always told you, “Look it up!”  These days, that is easier than at any other time in history.  End RT.

Speaking of diverse definitions, here are some of them (courtesy of biblehub.com which references “Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance.”)  

Rabbi Trail:  Over the years my experience with Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance is mostly favorable.  When it was first published, (by James Strong in 1890) I thought it was a great achievement and far better than anything that preceded it.  When I wrote this the first time, no one challenged me that I wasn’t born in 1890.  Now, I would rate it at about 85%.  There are some errors and omissions (so much for “exhaustive”), but mostly minor, such as not recognizing certain connections between word structures. End RT.

Translations of Neged: “against (3), aloof (3), away (1), before (60), broad (1), demoralized (1), directly (1), distance (3), front (15), opposite (21), other side (1), presence (13), resist (1), risked (1), sight (4), straight ahead (3), straight before (1), suitable (2), under (1).”

So which is the best translation of Neged in Psalm 23, verse 5?  “Before me” is one of the possibilities but the second word in the verse, L’fanai, means “before me.”  Most translators have chosen “in the presence” because the cantorial note attached to “Neged” is musically connected (a couplet) to “my enemies,” which leads us to “in the presence of my enemies.”  

However; from the above list of possibilities there are some interesting options.  Maybe my enemies are “demoralized” by the table God has set before me.  Maybe my enemies are on the “other side” because God has set His table before me.  Maybe my enemies are just plain old “under” the table God has set before me.  Or, maybe my enemies are resistant because God has set His table before me.  

All of these are excellent possibilities when considering the fullness of what it means to be “called up” to the table of the Lord, personally and individually.  Being called to a place setting at God’s table has as much to do with those who are called as it does with those who are excluded.  

Matthew 25:31 “Now when the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the angels with Him, then He will sit on His glorious throne. 32 All the nations will be gathered before Him, and He will separate them from one another, just as the shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33 And He will put the sheep on His right, but the goats on His left. 34 Then the King will say to those on His right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.

Skipping a few verses… Matthew 25:41 Then He will also say to those on the left, ‘Go away from Me, you cursed ones, into the everlasting fire which has been prepared for the devil and his angels.

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

Tue 20 July 2021 11th of Av, 5781

De 4:5-40Ez 321 Ch 12(Jn 2)1 Th 4

Week 30
Memory Verse: Colossians 1:19 For God was pleased to have all His fullness dwell in Him 20 and through Him to reconcile all things to Himself, making peace through the blood of His cross— whether things on earth or things in heaven!

146   7/19  Monday:       Nehemiah 13 

* 147 7/20  Tuesday:      Malachi 1

148   7/21  Wednesday: Malachi 2

149   7/22  Thursday:     Malachi 3

150   7/23  Friday:          Malachi 4

Note:  Malachi has 4 chapters in most Christian Bibles, but only 3 chapters in the TLV and most Jewish translations.  All the words and verses are the same, but the chapter division is different, so Chapter 4 in most Christian Bibles appears at the end of Chapter 3 in the TLV.  Did you get that? 

Question of the day:  Today we begin 4 days in the Book of Malachi.  What is going on in Chapter 1?

Answer:  A lot of divine judgement, that’s what’s going on.  As with everything we need to examine ourselves in the light of His Word.  The judgement of God seems to be connected to not giving Him our best.  To bring forth your best, is to bring forth your first fruits.  In Hebrew that is “Bachur,” in plural “Bikurim.”  

Another way to see an idol is to ask, “Is there anything in my life that I have given priority above God?”  If we are giving our best (or our first fruits) to any one (or any thing) other than the Lord, then we have allowed an idol to take the place of God.  

Let’s change gears slightly.  One verse in the entire chapter stands out as void of judgement.  Malachi 1:11 “For from sunrise to its setting My Name will be great among the nations, and in every place incense will be offered to My Name with a pure grain offering, for My Name will be great among the nations,” says Adonai-Tzva’ot.  No room for an idol in that verse.  Blessings my friends.