Rabbi’s Reflections – Monday, January 4, 2021
Daily Bread, reading plan by Lars Enarson (https://www.thewatchman.org/)
Mon 4-Jan-2021 20th of Tevet, 5781
Ex 1:18-2:10 2 Sa 23 Ps 97-98 Lk 15 (Gal 5)
Rabbi Trail: This week we begin the reading Exodus (the second book of the Bible, not the novel by Leon Uris). The Book of Exodus is not called “Exodus” in Hebrew. The Hebrew name of each of the 5 Books of Moses (the Torah) are taken from the first significant Hebrew word in the text of each book. Exodus begins Exodus 1:1a Now these are the names. In Hebrew, “Ayleh Shemot.” “Shemot” means “names.” Shemot is the Hebrew name of the Book of Exodus. Just for good measure, here are the names of the other books of the Torah: Genesis/B’resheet (in the beginning), Leviticus/Vayikrah (and He called), Numbers/BaMidbar (in the desert), and Deuteronomy/D’varim (words). These titles could be assembled into this sentence… “In the beginning, by name, He called us into the desert, (to speak these) words.” End RT.
The hand of God is obvious, even to the oblivious. Pharaoh has decreed that every Hebrew male child shall be murdered upon delivery. He assigns this gruesome task to the Egyptian midwives (who will necessarily be present upon delivery). But God… causes the Hebrew women to give birth naturally and before a midwife can be called. Then God gives the midwives themselves children, so their love of their own children won’t allow them to murder someone else’s child.
Then a baby boy is born to a levitical family, released to float down the river by his mother, discovered by Pharaoh’s daughter while his sister is present. His sister arranges for his natural mother to nurse him, and to get paid for nursing him in Pharaoh’s house. I wonder if God’s hand made these arrangements (so says the agnostic)? The faithful believer says, “What a mighty God we serve.”
Memory Verse: Hebrews 11:6 Now without faith it is impossible to please God. For the one who comes to God must believe that He exists and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him.
* 6 1/4 Monday: Job 38-39
7 1/5 Tuesday: Job 40-42
8 1/6 Wednesday: Genesis 11-12
9 1/7 Thursday: Genesis 15
10 1/8 Friday: Genesis 16-17
Question of the Day: How many question marks are there in Job 38-39?
Answer: I counted them in the TLV (Tree of Life Version). There are 40 question marks in these 2 chapters. But what is the spiritual significance of so many questions?
When we desire to understand what is being communicated, we find the real answer. God is speaking. He is answering Elihu (one of Job’s friends) who has just done his best to magnify God. From what I can tell, Elihu (in chapters 36 & 37) did an admirable job in explaining the majesty of God. Yet God takes him to task in chapters 38 & 39. With 40 questions, God lets Elihu know how little he really knows.
He starts with this question, Job 38:2 “Who is this, who darkens counsel with words without knowledge? God is asking Elihu (God is really pointing out to Elihu how little he (and by extension, us) knows. God goes on to ask us, Job 38:4 “Where were you when I laid the foundations of earth? Tell Me, if you have understanding.
With all the accumulated science today, we still have no answers for the 40 questions in these two chapters. The point is, we have much to learn from God, so let’s not act as if we know something. Information must flow from God to us. We dare not be presumptuous enough to think we know anything worthy of informing God. He informs us, we don’t inform Him. Stay humble my friends. If you can’t stay humble, then stay thirsty (for Him).