Rabbi’s Reflections – Wednesday, November 18, 2020


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

Wed 18-Nov-2020 2nd of Kislev, 5781

Ge 26:23-29 Jdg 20 Ps 42-43 Mk 2 (Ro 13)

Reprinted from Rabbi’s Reflections – Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Two years ago, Nov. 21st was the day before Thanksgiving.  


The title of the RR – “The Holidays That Try Men’s Souls”  

It is the famous Revolutionary War hero, Thomas Paine, who is quoted here, “These are the times that try men’s souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country; but he that stands by it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman.”

I make it a policy to only steal from the best.  I’m borrowing his plea for courage to address what I call “holiday syndrome.”  Psychologists call it “holiday blues” or more recently “Seasonal Affective Disorder” (and its apt acronym “SAD”).  It’s the depression that is in the box of holiday decorations, preparations, and parties.  

Rabbi Trail:  Don’t miss this.  While SAD is a pun intended, depression is a real problem in the world today.  I’m growing sadder by the minute just thinking about it.  The irony of it makes me laugh, which is part of the cure (you know, LOL).  End RT.

It’s the depression that goes with memories of times long past.  Wait a minute.  Why should “memories of times long past” engender depression?  They shouldn’t.  We tend to remember the good stuff and forget the not so good stuff.  Better we “cherish” memories.

I’ve been a law enforcement chaplain for almost 20 years (in February it will be 20).  In that time I’ve learned one thing I want to share with you now.  When we’re under stress, most of us want to be alone.  That’s exactly the opposite of God’s answer (which is to love one another).

Be with family and friends who will lift you up (and avoid any rabbi’s reflections that makes you depressed).  Seek out those who love you.  If you can’t do that, at least settle for someone who doesn’t dislike you. 

Joy is a fruit of the spirit.  Only God grows fruit.  We all find ways to “cope,”  but the call of God on our lives is not to cope, but to be victorious.  To have joy and the other fruits of the spirit.  We must grow our relationship with God.

Rabbi Trail:  I had to look this up.  The plural of fruit can be fruit or fruits.  It is considered an uncountable noun.  If you have many of one type of fruit, you have many fruit.  It you have many types of fruits, you have many fruits.  There, glad I cleared that up.  Surely, there must be an English major who appreciates me.  End RT.

How do we grow in our relationship with God?  Read His word.  Spend time with Him in prayer.  Appreciate more of Who He is by spending time with people who love Him.  

Everything under the sun is either growing or dying.  We want to believe things stay the same, but in reality, nothing does.  (That’s what makes “climate change” so ridiculous.   Of course the climate is changing.  Everything is changing.)  Let’s make this season a time to grow in the Lord and thus avoid (being) SAD.

Psalm 5:12(11) But let all who take refuge in You rejoice! Let them always shout for joy! You will shelter them and they exult— those who love Your Name.

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:  You might think I’m going to write about the last 12 verses of Ephesians 2, a section of Scripture titled “Jew and Gentile, one in Messiah.”  But I wrote about that a few days ago.  No, today I’m in chapter one, dealing with this one verse… Ephesians 1:18 “I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what is the richness of His glorious inheritance in the kedoshim,”  What does God want us to know, and do we actually know it?

Answer:  God wants us to know the “hope of His calling” (aka “the richness of His glorious inheritance”).  God has called us (His people, who are called by His name) to be His children.  That is huge (especially if the top part of what I wrote today depressed you).  Just the thought of being a child of God brings tears to my eyes (yes, “the eyes of my heart”).  

As children of God, we receive the highest status possible (higher than the angels and higher than being Jewish – see RT below).

Rabbi Trail:  I say “higher than being Jewish,” not because I’m stuck on it, but because I encounter so many people who are.  To be grafted in or grafted back in to the family of God, and to “drink of the fatness of the root” is as good as it gets.  Being Jewish doesn’t make that better.  End RT.

The hope of our calling is to be seated together with Yeshua (Is He really our older brother?).  Ephesians 2:5 Even when we were dead in our trespasses, He made us alive together with Messiah. (By grace you have been saved!) 6 And He raised us up with Him and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Messiah Yeshua—

Earlier, we were seeking to increase “joy.”  Well, well, well, it seems like God has a plan for that.  Pray with me… “May the God of shalom place His hand upon each one of us right now.  Heavenly Father, touch me, your child, and put me in order.  Lord, order my life so that the reality will reflect your love and eternal plan.  You have brought me into you own family through adoption, through which I call you ‘Abba.’  Bless me now, Lord, as I submit to Your divine authority.  Change me, mold me, shape me, use me, and finally, do put me in order, according to Your will.  In Yeshua’s name I pray.  Amen.”  

In Hebrew we say, “Aych, sidarta oti.”  “How (much) you ordered me.  Todah Abba (Thank you Father).