Torah.org Home Subscribe Services Support Us
 
Print Version

Email this article to a friend

Parshas Vaeschanan

We Need Backdrops

This week’s parsha contains two of the basic pillars of the Jewish faith - the Shema and the Ten Commandments of Sinai. This parsha also contains Moses’ plea for entry into the Land of Israel - an entry that is denied to him – and the explicit warning that the stay of the Jewish people in the Land of Israel is conditional upon the people’s loyalty to the God of Israel and to the Torah. Thus the Land of Israel is also seen as a supreme value in Jewish life – hence, Moses’ prayers and entreaties to be allowed to enter there – but its importance is nevertheless dependent on Israel‘s worship of God and the study and observance of His Torah. This interdependence too is one of the pillars of Judaism established for us in this parsha. The Land of Israel as a Jewish value can only exist and flourish if it is kept in tandem with the other basic values enunciated in the parsha – the Shema and the Ten Commandments from Sinai. As a singular, isolated value in itself, it will be unable to support the structure of the house of Israel. In these difficult, heart-wrenching days, we here in Israel, are painfully aware of this statement. The Land of Israel is a religious value to Jews, not merely a national one. Cut adrift from its religious moorings, it will eventually, over time merely drift away in the sea of problems, adversities and lost ideals.

This parsha, as is part of every other parsha in the book of Dvarim as well, emphasizes a review of the Jewish past. The past plays a major rule in all Jewish life and thought. The past is our reference point for where we are currently. Moshe constantly reviews and recalls the past – Egypt, Sinai, the sojourn in the desert, etc. – in order to instruct and inspire the people for the tasks that lie ahead. When walking uphill here in Jerusalem (and wherever one walks it is always uphill) I often stop and turn around to survey how much of the hill I have already traversed. I gain heart and renewed vigor at seeing how far I have already come going up that hill. I think that the same is true for the Jewish people generally and especially at this time. Seeing how far we have come after the disasters of the past century, knowing our past both distant and near, is a necessary component for continuing to climb our hill. The Torah always emphasizes knowledge of the past. We pray to the God of Avraham, Yitzchak and Yaakov, we constantly recall the Exodus from Egypt and the revelation of Sinai. We are obsessed with our past for this is the only way to assure our future. Moshe’s review of the past is timely in all generations. It will continue to strengthen us in our current hour of need.

Shabat shalom.
Rabbi Berel Wein


Text Copyright © 2005 by Rabbi Berel Wein and Torah.org


 
Sell Chometz Online


ARTICLES ON PESACH:

View Complete List

Would it Have Sufficed?
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5757

Ordering Priorities
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5766

Not Everything That Counts Can Be Counted
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5766

Frumster - Orthodox Jewish Dating

Pesach Weather
Rabbi Berel Wein - 5765

15 Steps To Freedom
Rabbi Dovid Green - 5757

Pesach: The Obligation of Profound Appreciation
Rabbi Label Lam - 5764

Looking for a Chavrusah?

What is the Question?
Rabbi Label Lam - 5763

The Great Shabbat
Shlomo Katz - 5764

Actions Speak Louder Than Words
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5756

ArtScroll

Ordered Freedom
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5775

Searching for the Chametz Within
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5756

4 Seder Cups & 1 Yiddishe Cup
Jon Erlbaum - 0

> Reading, Reviewing, Reciting
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5761

Pesach
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5770

Ha Lachma Anya
Rabbi Yochanan Zweig - 5770

The Real Us!
Rabbi Label Lam - 5772



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