Translation by Yehoshua Siskin
I had already begun looking for commentaries on our parasha when I discovered that its verses tell an important story on their own without any need for commentary:
The parasha presents a list of festivals and appointed times for us to celebrate. It begins with commandments concerning Shabbat and moves on to Pesach – to observance of the Exodus from Egypt in the middle of the month of Nissan. Afterwards, it’s written that we need to count the Omer until the festival of Shavuot, and then at the beginning of the year to celebrate Rosh Hashana, Yom Kippur, and Sukkot. Shofar blowing, the fast, the four species – everything is there. Moshe Rabbeinu spoke about all of it to the nation of Israel in the desert over 3,000 years ago. Since then we have survived wars, persecutions, pogroms, wanderings, and we are still here, having preserved that entire list of days quite well. “Seven days shall you eat maztot” – we did that one month ago. “And you shall count for yourselves” – we are presently in the midst of the Omer counting. “And you shall afflict your souls” – until today we do this on Yom Kippur. It’s not at all easy to understand how, over the centuries, the beating of our national pulse should have remained synchronized with this continual observance of so many special days.
The year is 2020. Yesterday the Intel Corporation purchased the Israeli company Moovit for $900 million, an acquisition that will allow Mobileye, an Israeli owned Intel subsidiary, to launch a worldwide fleet of robotaxis within the next two years. In addition, Israel has been among the most successful nations in the world in combating the coronavirus. And still the dates of Shabbat and the festivals are in our diaries, telling the story of this week’s parasha, a love story like no other.