Rabbi’s Reflections – Friday, August 6, 2021 

(Early) Shabbat Shalom,


Cantor Moishe Bear will be with us for two services this Shabbat.  We start Friday night with candle lighting, kiddush and dinner at 6PM (please bring something to share) and a Kabbalat Shabbat worship service following beginning at 7PM.  Then on Saturday morning, at 10:30AM we will have our usual Shabbat morning service.  Cantor Bear will be teaching on the Shemona Esrei (aka The Amidah), the most holy prayer in Jewish liturgy.  Cantor Bear was with us last year and we had a great time together, so we are doing it again this year.  Don’t miss it.

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

Fri 6 Aug 2021 28th of Av, 5781

De 15:1-18Ez 471 Ch 27(Jn 12:20-50)Tit 1

The first verse of the Torah reading today contains more wisdom than is possible appreciate.  Deuteronomy 15:1 “At the end of every seven years you are to cancel debts.”  This is so profound.  In this one simple command, God eliminates generations of people being disadvantaged.  

Look at what is happening today with student loans.  Young people who have borrowed to pay for their education are facing decades of hard work to repay those debts.  God hates slavery, and debt is a form of slavery.  

Biblical lending, then, is an act of generosity, more than a “for profit” business transaction.  The Bible even makes this point.  Deuteronomy 15:9 Watch yourself, so there is no unworthy thing in your heart saying, ‘The seventh year, the year of cancelling debts, is near,’ and your eye is evil against your poor brother and you give him nothing. Then he may call out to Adonai against you, and it will be a sin upon you.

Still, there are some fine lines of distinction which must be prayed through.  We are told in Scripture to be generous… Deuteronomy 15:7a “If there is a poor man among you—any of your brothers… 8 you must surely open your hand to him and you must surely lend him enough for his need—whatever he is lacking.  

The fine line of distinction is found in the answer to this question.  When does generosity become enabling bad behavior?  If someone is poor because of gambling addiction, or other self-destructive behavior, at what point are we enabling bad behavior through our generosity?  

The answer requires much prayer.  Ask God for wisdom.    Jacob 1:5 But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all without hesitation and without reproach; and it will be given to him.  Here’s an oxymoron for you, “common sense.”  It’s not so common is it?

In closing, I want to go back to the phrase “lend him enough for his need.”  Depending on the situation, a person’s “need” might be wise counsel.  The last thing a drug addicted person “needs” is money to buy drugs.  Help, true help, takes on many forms.  Our approach to “help” must be holistic.  It is the difference between treating the symptoms and treating the cause.  It’s like our memory verse below.  “All these things shall be added” includes wisdom and resources from the creator of all things and the giver of good gifts, the Lord, Himself. 

Week 32
Memory Verse: Matthew 6:33 But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.

* 156 8/02  Monday:       Matthew 3-4

157   8/03  Tuesday:      Matthew 5

158   8/04  Wednesday: Matthew 6

159   8/05  Thursday:     Matthew 7

160   8/06  Friday:          Matthew 8