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What's the message on the last Shabbat of the year?

תפוח בדבש
צילום: פלאש90



* Translation by Yehoshua Siskin


The last Shabbat of the year is upon us. In the Torah portion we will read on Shabbat, not even one mitzvah is to be found. Instead, we find ultimate principles that Moshe Rabbeinu shares with us just before his death. His words are especially appropriate both for the start of the new year and for the start of the school year - a year, God willing, of learning and growth not just for our kids, but for all of us:

* "You are all standing this day before the Lord, your God, the leaders of your tribes, your elders and your officers, every man of Israel." Sometimes the word "unity" sounds like a cliche, yet Moshe Rabbeinu reminds us that this is the most basic truth. We have lately gotten used to thinking that our highest aspiration, our dream throughout the generations, was to somehow reach 61 mandates. But this is barely the minimum, certainly not the maximum. The goal is that we should be one people unified around our common story.

* "Yet not only with you am I making this covenant and this oath, but with both those standing here with us today before the Lord, our God, and with those who are not here with us, this day." We cannot look only at our own generation, only at the here and now. In every decision we make, we have an obligation toward past and future generations - those who are no longer here and those who have yet to be born.

* "For you know how we dwelled in the land of Egypt, and how we passed among the nations through which you passed." We did not come here to establish neither another Egypt, nor another Iran, nor even another Unites States. Moseh Rabbeinu asks that we do not import the idol worship or the ideology of others, but rather that we build here something of our own.

* "For this commandment which I command you this day is not concealed from you, nor is it far away. It is not in heaven... not beyond the sea... Rather, this thing is very close to you; it is in your mouth and in your heart, so that you can fulfill it." It's possible. We can do it. These aspirations are not too great for us. They are easily within reach. Not in heaven, but close at hand.

* "This day, I call upon the heaven and the earth as witnesses: I have set before you life and death, the blessing and the curse. You shall choose life, so that you and your offspring will live." The last message is perhaps the most important - we have free choice. On the cusp of Rosh HaShanah and Yom Kippur, this is a dramatic reminder: It's always possible to change course, to begin anew. In life there is good and evil, a blessing and a curse, life and death - but "you shall choose life."

Shabbat shalom, Shana Tova.


ספר חדש לקוראים הצעירים ולכל המשפחה

"לגדול! 3", על תנועת החסידות ועלינו

להנחה - השתמשו בקוד קופון 3333

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