Torah.org Home Subscribe Services Support Us
 
Print Version

Email this article to a friend

Parshas Ki Savo

The Today Show

Volume 2 Issue 46

by Rabbi Mordechai Kamenetzky

THE TODAY SHOW

Today. It's a powerful word. It is used by doctors to define the exact moment their patients are to stop over-indulging, smoking, and drinking. It is used by account receivables to exact when they want their bills paid. Most importantly, it used by the Torah in describing what it wants from our attitudes.

This week the Torah portion tells us, Deuteronomy: 26:16: "Today Hashem commands you to perform these decrees and statutes." There is obviously a deeper connotation. The commandments were not given on the day that Moshe is reading this week's portion. They were given forty years prior. Rashi quotes the Midrash Tanchuma: "Every day the Torah should appear to us as if it were given today." Thus, forty years later Moshe commands his people that today Hashem commanded us to observe the Torah.

With that beautiful interpretation of "today," in mind, I would like to shed a new perspective on a verse at the very end of this week's portion.

Moshe calls the nation together and reminds them of the miraculous events that transpired during the exodus from Egypt. He discusses (Deuteronomy 29:1-3), "the great wonders, signs, and miracles that your eyes beheld." Then he adds something shocking. "But Hashem did not give you a heart to understand or eyes to see until today."

What can the word "today" mean in this context? Did the Jewish nation not have the heart to appreciate the value of splitting the Red Sea forty years back? Did they not revel in the miracle of Manna from its first earthly descent decades previously? How can Moshe say that they did not have eyes to understand until today?

Rav Chaim Shmulevitz once gave an ethical discourse on inspiration and outcome. He told the story of three friends who were discussing the diligence of Talmudic sages of yesteryear. Upon hearing of the of one particular Gaon's remarkable achievements derived through tremendous constancy and unrelenting Torah study, one of the boys ran straight from the table to the Bais Medrash (Study Hall) where he began a marathon of Talmudic learning. For one year the young man refused to speak anything but Torah. He eventually became one of the leaders of his generation.

After the eloquent story, one of Rabbi Shmuelevitz's students asked him, "I think the story was amazing. But the boy who ran from the table forgot to bentsch (say grace after meals)!"

Rav Chaim smiled at the pointed question. Then he nodded. "You are right. He did not bentsch. But had he stopped to recite the grace after meals along with its required preparations, he would never have returned to the Bais Medrash with the same enthusiasm."

Perhaps Moshe is telling his nation the secret of eternal inspiration. One may experience miraculous events. He may even have the vision of a lifetime. However he "will not have the heart to understand or the eyes to see" until that vision is today. Unless the inspiration lives with him daily, as it did upon the moment of impact.

Whether tragedy or blessing, too often an impact becomes as dull as the movement of time itself. The promises, pledges, and commitments begin to travel slowly, hand-in-hand down a memory lane paved with long-forgotten inspiration.

This week Moshe tells us that even after experiencing a most memorable wonder, we still may, "not have the heart to discern nor the eyes to see." Until we add one major ingredient. Today.

Dedicated by Gisele & Ira Beer in memory of Gisa Meyers

Good Shabbos

Mordechai Kamenetzky - Yeshiva of South Shore

Text Copyright © 1996 by Rabbi M. Kamenetzky and Project Genesis, Inc.

The author is the Associate Dean of the Yeshiva of South Shore.

Drasha is the e-mail edition of FaxHomily, a weekly torah facsimile on the weekly portion
which is sponsored by The Henry and Myrtle Hirsch Foundation


 






ARTICLES ON MASEI AND THE THREE WEEKS:

View Complete List

Criticm - To Accept or to Defend
Rabbi Eliyahu Hoffmann - 5759

YomTov, vol. XIII # 3
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5767

Your Flattery Will Be The Death of Me
Rabbi Yochanan Zweig - 5771

Frumster - Orthodox Jewish Dating

The Reuven/Gad Syndrome
Rabbi Berel Wein - 5773

Wish You Had More Time at the Office?
Rabbi Yaakov Menken - 5760

Kohein-in-Waiting
Rabbi Mordechai Kamenetzky - 5758

> In a Month We Call -“Av”
Rabbi Label Lam - 5765

A Hopeful Mourning
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5762

Points to Ponder
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5757

Looking for a Chavrusah?

Harnessing Powers
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5761

The Price Of Choice
Rabbi Aron Tendler - 5761

The Age Of Experience
Rabbi Naftali Reich - 5772

ArtScroll

9th of Av: Reasons for Fasting - Part 2
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5758

The Accidental Murderer
Rabbi Naftali Reich - 5770

Body Language
Rabbi Yochanan Zweig - 5771

17th of Tammuz: Why We Fast - Part 2
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5758



Project Genesis

Torah.org Home


Torah Portion

Jewish Law

Ethics

Texts

Learn the Basics

Seasons

Features

TORAHAUDIO

Ask The Rabbi

Knowledge Base




Help

About Us

Contact Us



Free Book on Geulah!




Torah.org Home
Torah.org HomeCapalon.com Copyright Information