Rabbi’s Reflections – Friday, November 20, 2020

(Early) Shabbat Shalom,

A quick personal update… Jan and I are feeling so very much better.  Neither of us has any fever, cough or aches and pains left.  What is left is some fatigue.  We expect to be released from quarantine on Monday (2 weeks after exposure).  Thank you for your prayers and thanks be to God for our healing.

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

Fri. 20-Nov-2020  4th of Kislev, 5781 (3 weeks till first light of Chanukah)

Ge 27:28-28:4 1 Sa 1 Ps 45 Mk 4 (Ro 15)

Today’s Torah reading includes much about blessing and non-blessing.  Jacob is an interloper, who, with his mother’s help, receives his father’s blessing instead of his older brother, Esau.  Not quite the same situation, but Isaac was also a younger brother who received the blessed in place of his older brother.  

Genesis 28:3 Now may El Shaddai bless you, and make you fruitful and multiply you so that you will become an assembly of peoples. 4 And may he give you the blessing of Abraham, to you and to your seed with you that you may take possession of the land of your sojourn, which God gave to Abraham.”

With all this talk and emphasis on blessing, I thought it would be good to review what a blessing is and how to give one.  In Hebrew, the word for blessing is “Baruch.”  It comes from Varech meaning to bend the knee or kneel (get on your knees).  So, what would it take for us to get comfortable with giving and receiving blessings.  

All of us are both in authority and under authority.  Those in authority have a calling to give a blessing to those under authority.  But those under authority also have a calling to give a blessing to those in authority.  (We probably don’t think of that one as often as we should.)  

Sadly, there was a teaching that spread decades ago that giving a child a blessing might overinflated their ego.  What a shame so many parents refrained from outright blessing their children so as not to “spoil” them and make them prideful.  There is plenty enough in this world to make us humble.  Our parents should call out our destiny.  And if your parents, didn’t, can’t or won’t, forgive them, love them and submit yourself to someone who will declare your blessing.   

The five components of any blessing are (1) a Meaningful Touch, (2) a Spoken Word, (3) Expressing High Value, (4) Picturing a Special Future, and (5) an Active Commitment.  Let me break it down briefly and we’ll be done.  

We are created for relationships and a blessing is a high level of relationship.  Most of us are sensual beings.  A meaningful touch is both reassuring and encouraging before even a word is spoken.  But then the words… have creative power (God spoke the world into existence).  We’re not mind readers.  The words have to be spoken.  And what is spoken should express high value.  Read the blessing of Ayshet Chayil (Proverbs 31:10-31) which is the blessing spoken over every woman present on Erev Shabbat.  Part 4 is the prophetic nature of the blessing.  The Lord has a special future for each of us.  When we bless one another, we call forth that God-given plan.  Finally, the “active commitment” is a personal offer to be a helper in time of need.  God does not want us to be alone.  He gave us each other for mutual blessing.  

Scriptures abound that prove what I’m telling you here.  Sorry I have not provided them, but I’m short on both time and energy, so I’m going to ask you to take my word for it.  Blessings.

Week 47
Memory Verse: Ephesians 2:8 For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not from yourselves—it is the gift of God. 9 It is not based on deeds, so that no one may boast. 10 For we are His workmanship—created in Messiah Yeshua for good deeds, which God prepared beforehand so we might walk in them.

231   11/16    Monday:         Colossians 1-2

232   11/17    Tuesday:        Colossians 3-4

233   11/18    Wednesday:   Ephesians 1-2    

234   11/19    Thursday:       Ephesians 3-4

* 235 11/20    Friday:         Ephesians 5-6

Question of the day:  Read Ephesians, chapters 5 and 6.  You pick your favorite verse and I’ll pick mine.  I’ll go first.

Ephesians 5:8 For once you were darkness, but now in union with the Lord you are light. Walk as children of light.

Chanukah is the festival of lights.  On Chanukah we give gifts.  Here is Jacob (James) declaring that God celebrates Chanukah.  Jacob 1:17 Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shifting shadow.  Chanukah starts in 3 weeks.