Rabbi’s Reflections – Monday, September 25, 2023 ‘

ANNOUNCEMENT:  I’m writing this on Sunday morning for publication Sunday night and Monday, which is Yom Kippur.  Because tomorrow (Sunday night and Monday) is Yom Kippur, I will not be writing an RR then, so there will be RR for Tuesday.  Instead, you might want to attend any of our three Yom Kippur services, or watch them online.  www.youtube.com Shomair Yisrael.  We start at 7PM on Sunday night.  Then at 10AM on Monday morning we will join with an hour of worldwide prayer for the salvation of Israel.  At 11AM we will start our Yom Kippur morning service.  Then at 6PM Monday night, we will have our concluding service (N’ilah) followed by a break fast community meal.  All are invited, no reservations required.

Rabbi Trail:  I’ll be chanting the Kol Nidre prayer to begin the holiday Sunday night.  If you can’t wait, here is a link to Cantor Ari Schwartz of the Park Avenue Synagogue in New York.  He has a choir, but I’ll be solo.    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fPIiQDICFFc  End RT.

Yom Kippur is the Day of Atonement, but it has another name, Yom HaDin, meaning the Day of Judgment.  We will all be humbled on the Day of Judgment, but not so much if we’ve already learned the beauty of humility.   With that in mind, please read the rest of this RR.

Life In The Body part 3 – Romans, part 178

Romans 12:3 For through the grace given me, I say to everyone among you not to think more highly of yourself than you ought to think—but to use sound judgment, as God has assigned to each person a measure of faith. 

What is our subject line?  “Life In The Body!”  Paul has already given us a treatise on holy living individually (Romans 6, 7 & 8) and another treatise on the importance of including Jewish people in the Body of Messiah (Romans 9, 10 & 11); now he is adding a treatise on the importance of communal living (Romans 12, 13 & 14).  And where does he start, with a lesson on humility.

“I say to everyone among you not to think more highly of yourself than you ought.”  Sounds like an admonition to humility to me!  There is a reason so many people who say they follow Messiah refuse to belong to a congregation or community.  They are unwilling to humble themselves before “imperfect” people.

Rabbi Trail:  I have to put “imperfect” in quotes, not because people are not really imperfect (they are), but because the imperfections in people are universal.  There are no perfect people.  There’s an old saying, that if you found the perfect congregation today, and joined it tomorrow, it would no longer be perfect.  Or, as comedian Groucho Marx put it, “I refuse to join any club that would have me as a member.”  End RT.

We find the same lack of humility (aka “lack of willingness to submit”) among congregations too.  We all need to be part of something bigger than ourselves.  Mutual accountability is a key to the kingdom of God.  He wants us to build each other up.  There are too many Scriptures on this topic to list them all.  Here are two…

1 Thessalonians 5:11 Therefore encourage one another and build each other up—just as you in fact are doing.  (This was written to a community.)

Hebrews 10:24 And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good deeds. 25 And do not neglect our own meetings, as is the habit of some, but encourage one another—and all the more so as you see the Day approaching.

My closing comment today is on the phrase “use sound judgment.”  Paul even tells us that sound judgment is connected to faith.  But using sound judgment can be hard to evaluate.  Of course, sound judgment can always be evaluated in the rear view mirror (looking back), but that’s not wisdom.  Wisdom is being able to exercise sound judgment in the moment.

When faced with major decisions, why not ask trusted family and friends to pray with you?  That’s a little hard to do if you don’t have trusted family and friends which goes back to the beginning of the verse.  Be willing to humble yourself.  That’s the key from start to finish.  Shalom shalom.

May we all have a blessed Yom Kippur.

Daily Bread, reading plan by Lars Enarson (https://www.thewatchman.org/)
Mon 25 Sep 2023 10th of Tishrei, 5784 Yom Kippur
Le 16 Nu 29:7-11 Le 18 (afternoon) Isa 57:14-58:14 Jonah 1-4 (afternoon) Mic 7:18-20 (afternoon) Apostles: Jas 4:1-12, 2 Pe 3:9-14