When the New Year rolled around I thought about making a New Year Resolution. I decided instead to have a focus for the year. Resolutions suggest to me will power, and mine seems lacking! For the year 2012 I want to fucus my thoughts to see if I can learn to think like God thinks. I know I’ll never fully “get there,” but the effort is worth it! I believe the Lord orchestrated the first lesson!
Into my lap dropped a lesson by an Israeli, Rabbi Landau on the Jewish concept of comfort, or menucha [men-uw-chah]. It sounds like the English word minutia, which comes from Latin “minutiae,” meaning trifles, small or minor deatils. But the Hebrew doesn’t mean anything near the English meaning of minutia! (Warning: There is as much Hebrew as there is English on this YouTobe video, so it is sometimes hard to understand.)
The Hebrew word [men-uw-cha] Gen. 49:15 is translated as rest, comfort, comfortable, or taking one’s ease. Strong’s H4496.
NIV: 14 “Issachar is a rawboned[f] donkey lying down among the sheep pens.[g]
15 When he sees how good is his resting place and how pleasant is his land,
he will bend his shoulder to the burden and submit to forced labor.
KJV: 14Issachar is a strong ass couching down between two burdens: 15And he saw that rest (menucha) was good, and the land that it was pleasant; and bowed his shoulder to bear, and became a servant unto tribute.
When you see how good the place is that you have inherited and how abundant the provision, on the natural and spiritual planes, you willingly put your shoulder into the task and work hard; you willingly do whatever it takes to gain and maintain the inheritance on the spiritual and natural planes, or dimensions. You are willing to work hard in the day to day, bearing the burden of tending to and defending the details of your life because you are looking forward to Shabbot–the time of peace and calm–the time with your God! There is nothing hanging, nothing left undone up to this point that would cause you to worry or be distracted.
For example, on Friday the shop keeper locks the door and enters Shabbot, he enters his rest; he enters God’s rest…There is nothing hanging to cause him to worry or distract him from his time with God because he worked hard all week! He took care of all the little details. That’s not to say that there is nothing more that can be done–there is a lot more. But every detail that needed to be taken care of up to this time has been done. There is noting to cause him worry.
The Rabbi told a story of another Rabbi who studies Torah at his dining room table and is able to learn despite 7 children roaring through the house in play. He is not disturbed; he lives in a state of menucha. He is “in the zone.” It is a state of mind whereby one’s body lives and moves in this world, but the spirit is connected to God, resulting in a flood of peace and calm [menuwchah]. The activity, noise, and the cares of this world do not penetrate the menucha. We can live in the world but do not have to be affected by it. From that state of calm and peace we can make righteous decisions and choices. We are not flustered or confused because we are plugged into the source of peace and calm. We can sit at God’s table, commune with Him and learn from Him in the midst of bedlam! I believe that we will need to learn how to maintain this kind of peace and calm as our world becomes bedlam.
How to attain menucha? That is the question I will be exploring and sharing what I find. I’d like to hear your stories of what helps you keep peace and calm in the midst of a storm.