Torah.org Home Subscribe Services Support Us
 
Print Version

Email this article to a friend

Parshas Vaeschanan

The Formula to Achieve Contentment

This Shabat is Shabat Nachamu, the Shabat that begins for us a cycle of comfort and consolation after the weeks of sadness and mourning over the past tragedies of the Jewish people. These next seven weeks of healing comfort will lead us into the bright, new year that awaits us. In this week’s parsha there is to be found, so to speak, the short course and synopsis of all of Judaism – the Ten Commandments, the Shema and the explanation of the Exodus from Egypt to be given to the wise son.

In a general sense, the entire structure of Torah and Jewish life is encapsulated for us in the parsha of the week. Since this Shabat is invariably also Shabat Nachamu, it is not difficult to see that the Torah is teaching us that comfort and consolation are spiritual values and attainments and not necessarily dependent upon material wealth or worldly success.

Our society, so rich in material goods and advanced technology, suffers greatly from all sorts of mental and social dysfunction. Depression is the “black dog” (Churchill’s words for his recurring bouts of depression) that affects over a third of the citizens of the Western world! True comfort and serenity within human beings are difficult to achieve and most precarious to maintain.

The Torah in this week’s parsha, in order to help and guide us, gives us a formula to achieve this elusive goal of contentment. And, it lies within the parameters of those three principles of Jewish faith outlined in the parsha of the week.

The Ten Commandments create for us a structure of belief and morality that every individual can aspire and ascribe to, no matter how decadent the society in which one finds oneself enmeshed in. The moral strictures that protect life, property and person are the basic rules of Jewish faith and life. The dysfunction between parents and children, a 24/7 commercial world, accepted robbery and corruption as a social norm, daily murders and a completely sexually dissolute society – how can one avoid being depressed in such a milieu?

All of civilization teeters on the fulcrum of those Ten Commandments. They point the way out of the social morass that sucks us down to destruction. The Shema is the vehicle of connection of our soul with the Creator Who fashioned us and gave us life. The belief in the one and universal God Who rules and is omniscient and omnipotent is the greatest gift of the Jews to the human race. It gives us discipline and security, purity and nobility, the whiff of immortality and the security in knowing that life is never in vain.

And finally, the understanding of the uniqueness of Israel in God’s scheme of things, as represented in the story of the Exodus from Egypt, gives structure and perspective to our national and personal lives. But it takes wisdom and knowledge – a wise son – to appreciate and treasure this memory of the distant past. Memory alone can also give us a sense of comfort and well-being and contribute towards the consolation and contentment we so ardently seek.

Shabat shalom

Rabbi Berel Wein


Crash course in Jewish history

Rabbi Berel Wein- Jewish historian, author and international lecturer offers a complete selection of CDs, audio tapes, video tapes, DVDs, and books on Jewish history at www.rabbiwein.com


 






ARTICLES ON NOACH:

View Complete List

The Roots of Evil
Rabbi Naftali Reich - 5768

Send The Guinea Pig!
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5757

Investing in the Land
Shlomo Katz - 5767

> Did The Animals Come Or Did Noach Have To Bring Them?
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5773

The Flood
Shlomo Katz - 5769

What Goes Around Comes Around
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5760

Frumster - Orthodox Jewish Dating

Parshas Noach
Shlomo Katz - 5772

Coming to Terms with the World to Come
Rabbi Eliyahu Hoffmann - 5761

One for the Birds
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5756

Looking for a Chavrusah?

Taking a Hint
Rabbi Eliyahu Hoffmann - 5766

New Stage, Old Actors
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5762

What Was Noach's Greatest Legacy?
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5772

ArtScroll

People In Stone Houses Should Not Cast Bricks
Rabbi Yochanan Zweig - 5771

Positive Speech Builds a Brighter World
Rabbi Pinchas Avruch - 5762

Delight Amidst Devastation
Rabbi Eliyahu Hoffmann - 5762

Unity and Conformity
Rabbi Berel Wein - 5765



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