Rabbi’s Reflections – Monday, July 13, 2020


Can you believe we are already on week 29?  Week 26 was the half-year point.  This week and next week (including today, 10 days) will mark the end of our reading the Hebrew Scriptures (6 more days in Nehemiah and 4 days in Malachi).  The rest of the year we’ll be in the New Testament Scriptures in the F-260 reading schedule.  Ahhh, milestones.

I (and some of the rest of you also) subscribe to YouVersion verse of the day.  Today (I’m writing this on Sunday) it is…

Psalm 27:4 One thing have I asked of Adonai, that will I seek: to dwell in the House of Adonai all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of Adonai, and to meditate in His Temple.

What is the “one thing?”  By now you must know.  There has been so much written about it.  King David wrote about it (quoted above).  Mike Bickel announced a pause on the Onething Conference in 2018, but THE “One Thing” goes on.  It is the one thing to which we are called in the kingdom of God.

Yeshua told the man he lacked one thing (Mark 10:21).  Yeshua told Martha one thing is necessary (Luke 10:42).  The blind man who was healed said he knew one thing (John 9:25).  Paul told the Philippians he does one thing (Philippians 3:13).  Paul’s one thing was the pursuit of God.

Have you ever been to the greyhound race track?  (Here is a link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WJLxEicHX_I )  The greyhounds understand their one thing is to catch the mechanical rabbit.  Our one thing is to pursue God; and not just to pursue, but to passionately chase after Him.  And just like the greyhound, we will run after God, but we will never catch Him.  We are called to a lifetime and a lifestyle of pursuit. 

Pray with me… Father in heaven, help me to focus my energy, effort and daily activity on the one thing.  Teach me how to love you.  Show me the way, speak encouragement and empower me to walk in it.  I thank you and bless you for this one thing.  In Yeshua’s name, Amen.

Week 29
Memory Verse: Nehemiah 6:9 For they were all trying to intimidate us, thinking, “Their hands will become weak from the work and it will not be done.” So now, strengthen my hands!

* 141 7/13     Monday:        Nehemiah 7-8

142   7/14     Tuesday:       Nehemiah 9
143   7/15     Wednesday:  Nehemiah 10

144   7/16     Thursday:      Nehemiah 11 

145   7/27     Friday:       Nehemiah 12

Question of the day:  What was the response from the people when Ezra read the Torah to them?

Answer:  Nehemiah 8:5 Ezra opened the scroll in the sight of all the people for he was above all the people. When he opened it, all the people stood up.  

Maybe a better question is to ask why this attracted my attention.  To begin with, there aren’t a lot of choices in these two chapters.  Most of chapter 7 is filled with names.  Importantly though, this happened on Rosh Hashanah (or Yom Teruah, the Feast of Trumpets) which takes place on the first day of the 7th month.  

Also, significant to me, is that the people stood up.  Why don’t we stand when the Torah is read?  It has not been our tradition.  But maybe it should be.  In some communities it is their tradition.  Standing is a sign of respect.  

There was only one seat in the Holly of Holies, the mercy seat above the Ark of the Covenant.   The High Priest would never dare sit in it on the one occasion each year when He would enter in to that place.  So the High Priest stood the entire time he was in the presence of God.  Maybe we should too.  I can tell you for sure, if we stand during the drash it will be shorter.  

We stand as a sign of respect.  When a dignitary or judge enters a room, all rise.  When a bride begins her entry, all rise.  You might say, “But the Safer Torah (scroll of the Torah) is not God,” and you would be right.  But it is the revelation of the mind of God.  Should we not give even God’s revelation the respect we would give an ordinary man?  I think I’m talking myself into something here.  I’m asking you and our leaders to pray with me about this.  Blessings.  R. Michael.