To do what you know is right

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Translation by Yehoshua Siskin

How much are we really influenced by frightening warnings on cigarette packages to stop smoking? How much do films on highway safety actually influence us to stop sending SMS messages while driving?

This week's Torah portion is concerned with the huge gap between what we know and how we conduct our lives. Between what we know is right and what we actually do. Moshe Rabbeinu stands before the people as they are about to enter the Promised Land and says: "And you shall know this day and consider it in your heart." (Deuteronomy 4:39). To internalize the message. To transform matters of faith into actual deeds by whose light we live. To connect between the cold, analytical mind and the warm, emotional heart. From sticking to a diet to consistent mitzvah observance to regular Torah study, this is one of the most difficult challenges. Rabbi Nachman of Breslav wrote that the essence of perfection is to connect the mind and the heart. In other words, to remove the barrier between knowing and doing. To succeed in living authentically in accordance with what we know and want.

Just before entering the Promised Land, Moshe Rabbeinu tells us to establish an Israeli society based on this: Not to just speak about high-minded values, but to actually live them on a personal and national level.

Wishing all of us success in this endeavor.

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