Rabbi’s Reflections – Wednesday, July 21, 2021


How to make good ice cream bad by Ben & Jerry’s.  That should be the headline and the byline.  I don’t know if you’ve heard (it’s been all over my news sources, but my news sources are mostly Jewish) but Ben & Jerry’s has decided not to sell their ice cream in parts of Israel.  This is connected to the BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) movement, designed to force Israel to make peace with the Palestinians.  

Rabbi’s Note:  The only thing preventing peace with the Palestinians is the Palestinians.  It doesn’t matter what piece (not peace) of the Middle East Jewish people want, the Palestinians claim it is their piece.  They claim all 36 acres of the Temple Mount, all of Jerusalem, all of Tel Aviv.  Helen Thomas (famous White House reporter, who survived 9 American Presidents) offered her solution at the age of 89, saying, “Why don’t they (the Jews) just go back to Europe?”  She retired shortly after saying that on camera.  It’s not that simple Helen.  And it’s not as simple as where you sell ice cream B&J.  End RN.

I’m not much for boycotts.  I just don’t think they are effective.  But I would like Ben & Jerry’s to feel it in their bottom line.  So I’m asking all of you to join me and refuse to put flesh above spirit, frozen tasty treats above principle, and do not, do not, do not buy Ben & Jerry’s.  They have their principles and I have mine.  (I didn’t pick this fight, they did.)  Are you with me? 


Psalm 81 – part 4:  These first 5 commands for worship take us to the end of verse 6(5).  At the end of verse 6(5) we read this… Psalm 81:6b I heard a language I did not understand.  The Hebrew says something a little different.  My interpretation would be “I will hear a language (from lips, a mouth or a tongue) that I did not know.”  Where does this happen?  In the land of Egypt where Joseph is established.  Psalm 81:6a He set it up as a testimony in Joseph, when He went throughout the land of Egypt.  

A curious thing happens to the name “Joseph” in Hebrew.  There is an extra “Hey” in the middle of the name, YeHoseph.  This is the only place in the Bible where this change appears.  The “Hey” is used twice in God’s name, “Yud-Hey-Vav-Hey.”  God added a “Hey” to Abram, and again to Sarai, to change the meanings of their names.  How did the meaning of Joseph’s name change?  Joseph means “additional” or “increase.”  The extra “Hey” is God putting His name on the testimony of increase.  

I want to comment on the next two verses (7&8).  The text changes to God speaking in the first person.  Psalm 81:7 “I relieved his shoulder of the burden, his hands were set free from the basket. 8 You called out in trouble, and I rescued you. I answered you from the hiding place of thunder. I tested you at the waters of Meribah. Selah

Remember the previous verse was about the testimony God established in Egypt through Joseph in a language we didn’t know.  This is high poetry.  It is very symbolic.  God has “unknown lips” because we were slaves and didn’t know how to love Him.  He went through Egypt and set us free (removing our shoulder from the burden).  God set His people free.  He answered our prayers, but we didn’t know how to respond.  He tested us at the waters of Meribah, and we failed.  

What was the problem with Meribah?  When I tell you, “Al Tariv Im Rav,” meaning, “Don’t argue with the Rabbi,” “Tariv” and “Meribah” are from the same Shoresh.  We were thirsty and we argued with God (instead of blessing Him and believing for the best).  God set us free and we forgot to say, “Thank You.”  The last word of Psalm 81:8 is “Seleh” meaning, “Stop here and meditate on this for a few minutes.”  We better do that today.  In what ways have we taken God’s provision for granted and forgotten to tell Him, “Thank You?”     

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

Wed21-July-202112th of Av, 5781

De 4:41-49Ez 331 Ch 13(Jn 3)1 Th 5

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