Tuesday, 23 November 2021
Are you enjoying this series on the names of the 12 tribes? I'm enjoying writing it. Today we have Jacob's son #8, Asher (Zilpah #2). Genesis 30:12-13 Then Zilpah, Leah's female servant, gave birth to a second son for Jacob. Leah said, "How happy am I, for daughters have called me happy." So she named him Asher.
Well, this is good news. Asher means "happy." Is there a believer out there who would like a little more happiness in his/her life? I thought so.
Rabbi Trail: Asher is spelled "Aleph-Shin-Resh". There is a sound alike (or almost alike) word, Osher, spelled "Ayin-Shin-Resh" meaning "riches." One of our greetings on the High Holidays (fall Feasts of the Lord) is Osher V'Osher meaning "happiness and riches." End RT.
One of the most prayed Psalms in Hebrew liturgy is essentially Psalm 145 called "Ashre." It has two verses prefixed to it (Psalm 84:5 and Psalm 144:15), both of which begin with the word "Ashre," hence the name of the prayer.
Psalm 84:5 Blessed are they who dwell in Your House - they are ever praising You. Selah.
Psalm 144:15 Happy are such a people! Blessed are the people whose God is Adonai!
Notice in Psalm 84 the first word, "Ashre" is translated as "blessed." Apparently, to the translators the two concepts of "happiness" and "blessing" are interchangeable. God's people are always so serious. God wants His people to be joyful. Ashre is the first Hebrew word in Deuteronomy 33:29a Happy are you, O Israel! Who is like you, a people saved by Adonai, the Shield of your help and the Sword of your triumph?
God wants the people He has saved to be happy about it. Rejoice and be glad. In giving us a tribe by this name, God is letting us know it is His desire that we have this character trait. Psalm 40:5 Blessed (Ashre - Happy) is the one who put his confidence in Adonai, who has not turned to the arrogant, nor to those who fall into falsehood. Be happy, trust in God.
Rabbi Michael Weiner,