Torah.org Home Subscribe Services Support Us
 
Print Version

Email this article to a friend

Parshas Devarim

by Rabbi Dovid Green


This week we begin Deuteronomy, the last of the five books of the Torah. In this portion we learn how as the Jewish nation neared the Promised Land, Moshe Rabeinu reviewed the nation's deeds and experiences during the years in the wilderness. There they were, about to begin one of the most incredible chapters in the existence of our nation. So why, we might ask, was it necessary to look into that generation's past deeds at such an auspicious moment? Wasn't this a time for looking toward the future?

We can better understand the need for taking stock by examining the following parable:

A servant of a king, after many years of faithful service, was about to be given a highly responsible position in the kings palace. He was even being allowed to take up residency in the palace itself! The day for the servant to move his possessions into his new royal quarters would soon approach. The servant, was naturally elated and proud. The king asked his second-in-command, to offer the royal resident-to-be some counseling. This was out of kindness to the servant, to prepare him for the future and its new demands. The advice came in the form of reviewing the servant's past record over the years. The counselor not only reviewed the deeds of the servant which had brought glory to the king, but also where he had fallen short in his duties. Bringing reality down to earth during such a heady moment in the servant's career would ensure that a sober attitude would accompany his joy. This attitude would then be the catalyst towards his successful serious service of the king.

So it was with the Jewish people. Moshe reviewed the past events during the nation's sojourn in the desert, both positive and otherwise. Precisely because of this review, they would be equipped with the best attitude for the serious business at hand. Soon they would take up residence in the "palace" of the Holy Land. This would bring with it the challenge of fulfilling the many commandments which only apply when living there. They would also be responsible for the many commandments connected to the building of and service in the Holy Temple. Thus, taking stock of past deeds was actually the wise advise of Moshe Rabeinu, the King's counselor to the Jewish nation. Only a sober attitude would enable them to be successful in their new position. They would experience the seriousness and the joy of their upcoming service of G-d in the Holy Land. Moshe had helped prepare their future in a practical way by examining their past record, not by touting a fancy future, free of any awareness of the magnitude of their responsibilities.

The Jewish concept of repentance hinges on this same idea. The sages say that when the Torah uses the word "atah" (spelled with an ayin), meaning "now", it refers to repentance. The underlying idea is that reflecting on the past is for the purpose of improving the present and the future. The focus is improvement. There is no room for depression or despair, as the future looks bright in the light of the committment to improve.

The student of Torah knows that what comes along with his glorious status of being a servant of G-d is the need for a serious attitude coupled with joy, to strengthen him as he builds a foundation toward spiritual goals. May we merit to see the culmination of our ultimate goal as a nation in the recognition of G-d's majesty the world over. Good Shabbos.

This weeks DvarTorah is dedicated in memory of Nechemya ben Chaim Dovid O"H

Good Shabbos!


Text Copyright © 1997 Rabbi Dovid Green and Project Genesis, Inc.

 






ARTICLES ON LECH LECHA:

View Complete List

A House or a Home?
Rabbi Yaakov Menken - 5757

Attitude Conditioning
Rabbi Pinchas Avruch - 5763

That's Tzedaka!
Rabbi Label Lam - 5771

> Freedom of Man
Shlomo Katz - 5760

Entering the Land of Canaan
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5770

A Fuzzy Picture
Rabbi Yisroel Ciner - 5759

ArtScroll

Recognizing the Source of Our Good
Rabbi Pinchas Avruch - 5762

The Lesson of Avraham
Rabbi Berel Wein - 5763

The Ordeal of Departure
Rabbi Naftali Reich - 5771

Frumster - Orthodox Jewish Dating

Redefining Pleasure
Rabbi Yochanan Zweig - 5775

The Ordeal of Departure
Rabbi Naftali Reich - 5767

Long Distance Call
Rabbi Mordechai Kamenetzky - 5761

Looking for a Chavrusah?

Uniquely Human
Rabbi Aron Tendler - 5762

Our Future Lies in Chevron
Rabbi Berel Wein - 5773

Home Sweet Home
Rabbi Naftali Reich - 5773

The Kindness Factor
Rabbi Naftali Reich - 5769



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