Musings of an Orthodox Jew

Thoughts on Torah and the Jewish world today.

Parshas Va’eschanan – originally posted July 26, 2007

Parsha Va’Eschanan Chapter 3:23 to Chapter 7:11

I hope everyone had a meaningful fast and made it through the mourning period from the 17 Tammuz through to 9 Av. Me, I always find those 9 days without meat painful, what can I say, I really enjoy eating meat! On Tisha b’Av I was busy giving my 6 year old son breakfast when he turned me “Dad, I can’t wait till this is a holiday instead of being sad!” Well, we will be, so may Mashiach come and build the third temple speedily in our days!

So we go from mourning and fasting to this week’s parsha. What a parsha it is! It contains so much, the ten commandments; the famous declaration that is so central to Judaism “SHEMA YISRAEL, ADONAI ELOHEINU, ADONIA ECHAD1” “Hear O Israel, God is you God, God is one!” A declaration we make three times a day; one that has been on the lips of millions of martyrs before their deaths, a declaration that has been outlawed by governments trying to destroy us, yet still preserved and worked into the services as best we could to preserve this very core of our faith.

So in this parsha which has so much, we find something else- Moses warns the people about complacency, about forsaking God, about how they will be destroyed and scattered amongst the nations of the world. Moses foresees our exile, our pain at being separated from the land, sent away and become a minority surrounded by people with foreign ways and worshipping foreign Gods. But Moshe does not stop there “From there you will seek Hashem, your God, and you will find Him, if you search him with all your heart and all your soul. When you are in distress, and all these things have befallen you, at the end of days, you will return unto Hashem, your God, and listen to his voice. For Hashem your God is a merciful God. He will not loosen [His hold on] you, and He will not forget the covenant of your forefathers that he swore to them.”

What a message in a week when we remember the destruction of the temples! Yes, God told us that we would be scattered, forced to reside amongst the people of the world- but he also told us, “Cleave to me with all your heart and all your soul, remember that I am the one, the only God, and I will never let go of you!” Rashi states that the pgrase “He will not loosen His hold on you” is just that- declaration that he will never separate from us.

So as we move to Shabbos Nachamu, as we read the words of consolation from the prophet, let us take comfort from our Parsha, from the words of Moshe as he calls on the heaven and earth to witness the warning he issues- but they become witnesses too to the words of comfort and redemption he gives to a nation waiting to enter and conquer their promised land.

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June 24, 2008 - Posted by | Parshah | , ,

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