Rabbi’s Reflections – Monday, September 21, 2020
“Lech L’cha” is the name of the third Torah reading each year. This year it will be read on October 31st.
Rabbi Trail: Here is my first opportunity to make an announcement about our Shabbat observance on October 31st. Our leadership team has decided to make something special out of every 5th Shabbat (there are 4 each year, one each quarter. Saturday, October 31st, is our first 5th Shabbat since that decision was made.
“Okay, how are you going to make ‘something special’ out of every 5th Shabbat?” We are going to have a special Erev Shabbat dinner and service. (Kind of like the one we just had for Yom Teruah this week.) We enjoyed the company of 135 of our closest friends for dinner and a service Friday night. It was fun, quite a celebration.
But that’s only half the announcement. The rest of it is that there will be no service on that Saturday morning. Instead, we recommend you enjoy the Shabbat in some special way with your family and friends to honor the Lord. Go out. Stay in. Thank God for His goodness. Enjoy a book, be in His presence, pray, or celebrate God’s goodness in any way He leads. Pray and then plan how to make every 5th Saturday special to give God honor. Then give testimony on how God moved in a special way on that day. More on this to follow. End RT.
Back to Lech L’cha… God spoke to Abraham in Genesis 12:1 Then Adonai said to Abram, “Get going out from your land, and from your relatives, and from your father’s house, to the land that I will show you.“
Lech L’cha” is the two Hebrew words translated “go away,” but neither one of them means “go” or “away.” They are even spelled the same (Lamed-Kaf) in Hebrew but have totally different meanings. (Stick with me here, there is a good and relevant reason I’m explaining this in detail.)
“Lech” is from the Hebrew word “La’Le’chet” meaning “to walk around.” In Australia they call it a “walkabout.” It even has spiritual implications among their Aboriginal society. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Walkabout)
“L’cha” (same letters, different vowels) is a Hebrew pronoun meaning “to you” in the masculine singular form.
So, the combination, “Lech L’cha” really means “to you (hey you), get up and walk. (The next Hebrew word is “Ma-Artzicha,” which has in the middle Aretz meaning “land.” The prefix “Ma” means “from” (as in “away from”) and the suffix “Cha” is a contraction of “L’cha” (yes, the word we just had) meaning literally “to you” or figuratively “yours.” Abram is being told, “Get up and walk away from your land.” In this case, the place of his birth and his father’s house.
Now (finally), please read Song 2:10-13. I bring this up today because the same couplet (Lech L’cha) appears twice in feminine form (L’chi Lach) in Song 2, both in verse 10 and in verse 13. In both verses the couplet is preceded by the command “rise up.” It’s the same word used in Isaiah 60:1 Arise, shine, for your light has come! The glory of Adonai has risen on you.
The Beloved (Yeshua) is calling the Shulamite (His Bride) to come away with Him on a journey to a place unknown. It is a place of intimacy, which is the desire of His heart. The parallel is clear in the Hebrew. Abraham was called to “cross over” from unbelief into faith. That same Hebrew word is used in Song as well in the description of winter. Winter is “over there,” but the invitation is to enter springtime together with Him.
Memory Verse: James 1:2 Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, 3 knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. 4 And let endurance have its perfect work, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.
* 191 9/21 Monday: Acts 10-11
192 9/22 Tuesday: Acts 12
193 9/23 Wednesday: Acts 13-14
194 9/24 Thursday: James 1-2
195 9/25 Friday: James 3-5
Question of the Day: What is the meaning of Peter’s vision?
Answer: Ask any 2 people and you’re likely to get 3 opinions. First, let’s get the essence of the vision. Acts 10:15 Again a voice came to him, a second time: “What God has made clean, you must not consider unholy.” Some people believe this verse proves God endorses “the other white meat.” I believe that each of us should be persuaded in his own mind how to obey God. I just don’t want anyone to mistakenly use this verse as part of their decision on kashrut (kosher laws), because it has nothing to do with eating. As we will see, it has to do with calling any man clean or unclean.
Why don’t we ask Peter what his vision meant? How can we ask Peter, he is no longer with us? But the Biblical recording of his answer is still with us. My point is that Peter didn’t understand his own vision at first. Acts 10:17 Now while Peter was puzzling about what the vision he had seen might mean, behold, the men sent by Cornelius found Simon’s house and appeared before the gate.
Peter was wondering what the vision meant when there was a knock at the door. Acts 10:19 Now while Peter was mulling over the vision, the Ruach said to him, “Look here, three men are looking for you.
Then Peter got the revelation the next day as he entered Cornelius’ house… Acts 10:28 He said to them, “You yourselves know that it is not permitted for a Jewish man to associate with a non-Jew or to visit him. Yet God has shown me that I should call no one (no man) unholy or unclean.
While the vision was about eating, it was a vision which was symbolic of a greater reality, namely fellowship. In these days of division and offense, we should take Peter’s vision to heart and be loving toward all people without regard to race, religion, national origin, sexual orientation, and the list goes on.
When I say “loving,” I don’t mean coddling individuals or endorsing sin. There is a verse… Ephesians 4:14 As a result, we are no longer to be like children, tossed around by the waves and blown all over by every wind of teaching, by the trickery of men with cunning in deceitful scheming. 15 Instead, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all ways into Messiah, who is the Head.
That is not beating people over the head with a Bible. It is taking the relationships and opportunities that God provides, to share the truth in love. Let’s be ready, as the Holy Spirit leads, to tell people how God has the answers to every problem of life. Better than “telling,” is “testifying” how God solved our own problems. That is what Peter did.