Rabbi’s Reflections – Wednesday, October 7, 2020


Rabbi Trail:  It’s been a while.  Time for a Yiddish/Hebrew lesson.  The Yiddish word today is “Meshuga” meaning “crazy.”  It’s Hebrew equivalent is spelled the same but pronounced differently.  The Yiddish “Meshuga” has the accent on the second syllable.  The “shuga” part is just like a person from Georgia trying to say “sugar.”  

The Hebrew equivalent has the accent on the last syllable.  Also it must be said with attitude, like if you could spit “ga,” you would.  When an Israeli says, “Meshuga” it communicates, “I can’t believe anyone could be that crazy.”  It communicates exasperation in the way it is said.  

There are derivations of the word in both Yiddish and Hebrew.  In both Yiddish and Hebrew, “Meshuagas” is “nonsense or craziness.”  But we will have to rely on one of our RR readers who is a Hebrew speaker to tell us more about the Hebrew derivations.  

In Yiddish, there is “Meshugane,” which is a crazy person.  It may be the same in Hebrew, I’m not sure.  Anyway, I thought I would start this RR with a little something light and less spiritual.  But if I don’t stop, I will devolve into “Sh’tu’yot,” which is “silliness” in Hebrew and probably where “stupid” comes from.  And I mean it…. this is the End RT.


Now for something serious…. We have in the following verse “clefts” and “cliffs.”  Although they sound similar, they are very different places which require very different responses from us.  

Song of Songs 2:14 My dove, in the clefts of the rock, in a secret place along the steep path (cliff), let me see your form, let me hear your voice. For your voice is sweet and your form is lovely.”

In Hebrew, “clefts” uses the Shoresh “Chet-Gimel-Gimel,” meaning a solemn or festive holiday, retreat or celebration.  In this use, the Beloved (representing Yeshua) welcoming us to a seat at His banquet table.  This is both solemn and joyous.  We are called to be seen in the safe place of protection (cleft) of the rock and that rock is Yeshua.

Ephesians 2:6 And He raised us up with Him and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Messiah Yeshua—

The “cliffs” uses the Hebrew word Madregot, which is the Hebrew word for stairs.  An amplified translation would be “narrow path of ascension.”  This provides a picture of our walk through life with the Holy Spirit guiding and empowering our way.  

John 14:16 I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper so He may be with you forever—   John 16:13 But when the Spirit of truth comes, He will guide you into all the truth. He will not speak on His own; but whatever He hears, He will tell you. And He will declare to you the things that are to come. 14 He will glorify Me, because He will take from what is Mine and declare it to you.

We have a relationship with Yeshua (pictured in the “clefts”) and a relationship with His Holy Spirit (pictured in the “cliffs”).  We are both seated with Him and at the same time, walking with Him.  Watchman Nee wrote “Sit Walk Stand” on the book of Ephesians.  Do you think Watchman Nee read Song of Songs?  I do.  He wrote a book on that too, called simply “Song of Songs.”

May I summarize this RR… No matter what position we are in (seated with Him, standing with Him, or walking with Him, the Shema says “lying down or rising up” in Deuteronomy 6:7) our calling is to grow up in the Lord.

Ephesians 4:11 He Himself gave some to be emissaries, some as prophets, some as proclaimers of the Good News, and some as shepherds and teachers— 12 to equip the kedoshim for the work of service, for building up the body of Messiah. 13 This will continue until we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of Ben-Elohim—to mature adulthood, to the measure of the stature of Messiah’s fullness. 14a As a result, we are no longer to be like children,… 15 Instead, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all ways into Messiah, who is the Head.

Week 41
Memory Verse: 1 Corinthians 1:18 For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.

201   10/5      Monday:       1 Thessalonians 3-5

202   10/6      Tuesday:      2 Thessalonians 1-3 

* 203 10/7      Wednesday: Acts 18:18-19:41

204   10/8      Thursday:     1 Corinthians 1-2

205   10/9      Friday:       1 Corinthians 3-4

Question of the Day:  What did the Jewish man named Apollos preach after crossing over to Achaia?

Answer:  I don’t know for sure.  I do know it was the Hebrew Scriptures (there weren’t any other Scriptures at the time).  I also know he was preaching better after Pricilla and Aquila explained the way of God more accurately to him.  I also know this… Acts 18:28 For he powerfully refuted the Jewish people in public, demonstrating through the Scriptures that the Messiah was Yeshua. 

The question remains, how did Apollos demonstrate that the promised Messiah is Yeshua?  Here I have to speculate, but I want to search the Scriptures for possible answers.  According to the Blue Letter Bible (https://www.blueletterbible.org/), the Hebrew Scriptures are quoted 855 times in the New Testament.  (228 times in the Gospels, 249 times in Revelation, 86 times in Hebrews, 74 times in Romans, 57 times in Acts, 54 times in Corinthians and you get the picture.)  The point is that there is nothing new in the New Testament.  The New Testament is itself a magnification of the truth of the Hebrew Scriptures.  

Back to my original question… What did Apollos say?  Yeshua called on His audience to believe Moses.  John 5:46 For if you were believing Moses, you would believe Me—because he wrote about Me. 47 But since you do not believe his writings, how will you believe My words?”

Where did Moses write about Yeshua?  (Hint: you might imagine I’m going to speak extensively about this on Shabbat.)  Let me give you two prime examples in this RR.  The first place was Genesis 3, as God spoke to the serpent.  Genesis 3:15 I will put animosity between you and the woman— between your seed and her seed. He will crush your head, and you will crush his heel.  The seed of the woman is the first promise of a savior who will crush the head of the adversary.  (Women don’t have seed, men have seed.  This is something different.  It is a prophesy of the virgin birth.)

The second instance I want to point out is in Deuteronomy 18:15 “Adonai your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from your midst—from your brothers. To him you must listen.”  How was Yeshua like Moses?  Moses was different from all the other prophets.  Numbers 12:6 “Hear now My words!” He said. “When there is a prophet of Adonai, I reveal Myself in a vision, I speak to him in a dream. 7 Not so with My servant Moses. In all My house, he is faithful. 8a I speak with him face to face, plainly and not in riddles.  Same with Yeshua, God spoke with Yeshua directly.

Yeshua likewise spoke directly with God.  Yet there is a difference between Moses and Yeshua.  John 1:17 Torah was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Yeshua the Messiah.  The grace and truth of Yeshua doesn’t contradict or do away with the Law of Moses, He confirms and affirms it.  As the rabbis have always expected, the Messiah will lead the people into all righteousness.  

The sad truth is that much of the history of Catholicism and Protestantism does not validate this expectation.  But that history does not make God a liar.  Yeshua is “Echad” with God the Father, as Yeshua said, John 10:30 “I and the Father are one.”  

There are those who try to deny the evidence that Yeshua is the promised Messiah.  Mostly, they have to rely on conspiracy theories to prove their theory.  A theory to prove a theory; now that requires more faith than what’s available.  It’s easier to believe the truth.  John 8:31 Then Yeshua said to the Judeans who had trusted Him, “If you abide in My word, then you are truly My disciples. 32 You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free!”