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Parshat Dvarim: Two sided Coin

Posted on ה׳ באב ה׳תש״ע (July 16, 2010) | in Devarim | by

Parshat Dvarim In this week’s Torah portion we start the new book of Dvarim. As I learned this week’s portion I imagined the last 30 minutes of a movie where everything all seems to come together. The Children of Israel–led by Moses- are at the border of Israel ready to enter the land. Not knowing the sins of their ancestors, the Jewish people of this generation are excited, determined and inspired. They are ready to enter into the land of Israel to serve HaShem with reverence, pride and commitment. Moses sees the excitement and deems it necessary to tell the story that the young generation did not live. The story of their fathers, the reminder of the obstacles, failings and prevails. “We journeyed from Horeb and we went through the entire great and awesome wilderness that you saw. By the way of the mountain of the Amorite, as HaShem our G-d commanded us, and we cam until Kadesh barnea… See—HaShem, your G_d has placed the land before you; go up and take possession, as HaShem, G-d of your forefathers, has spoken to you. Do not fear and do not lose resolve. (1:19-21)” A committed leader is someone who regardless of the leaders own personal experiences always focuses and stays fully committed to the group. Moses struggles with the Jewish people till the day he dies; he is not even one to merit the land of Israel. He understood the future of the Jewish people and he sent a message out for all of us. He lets each and every one of us know where we came from and what we went through. Not to make us feel bad, but to make us learn from our nations previous mistakes. Before Moshe dies he devotes the last 5 weeks of his life to a careful well articulated orally transmitted history of the Torahs words. He tells the Jewish people how great of a nation we are and how we are loved by G-d and feared by nations, how our fathers and those before them sinned. They caused death, enslavement and exile because of false perception, baseless hatred and words of slander against each other. Through it all G-d never left our side, so don’t leave his. He took us through Egypt, a dangerous wilderness and forty years in the desert. Despite all this he gave us everything we needed. Don’t forget that even when it’s difficult HaShem takes us through the hardest times. Tuesday night we entered into one of the most intense months in the Jewish calendar, AV. In the month of AV and particularly the 9th of AV, the sin of spies ended with a bitter 40 years in the dessert, both temples were destroyed, the expulsion for Jews in Spain took place and WWI began. Rebetzin Tzipporah Heller points out that even though all these things took place in the month of AV the Talmud tells us that the first 9 days of AV are the birth pangs of the Messiah, compared to the 9 months of child preconception. Also, the very fact that the Messiah sprouts forth at this time shows the true intensity of the time. The question we must begin to ask ourselves, is … you guessed it, why? Why are all these things so closely linked to the point that they almost seem to co-exist with one another? Why is this exact time of year so masked and covered with beautiful sunny days and extra time to spare? I would like to offer the following explanation. In the world there is up and down, there is a sun set and a sun rise. We have good and bad times and we have winter and summer. There is an opposite for everything. On the ninth of AV (this year July 30th) the last straw was drawn. The temple was destroyed and we were sent into our present exile.

As Rebetzin Heller points out, these days are two sides of one coin. Only in this game of heads or tails we can make the coin land in our favor. If the temple was destroyed because of baseless hatred, then we need to bring about baseless love. If there is bad then we need to make good. On a personal level one should recognize the sadness of this month, but on a national level this time is meant to trigger our aspirations to be the best people we can be. To fix the flaws of our fathers just the way the Jews who went into Israel the first time around needed to know the flaws of their fathers. We need to carefully take an account of Moshe’s final encounters with the Jewish people. HaShem sent our prophet Jeremiah to warn the Jewish people and to tell them to stop their deceitful ways, but they did not listen. They didn’t listen to the cries and warnings of Jeremiah, but ultimately they did not listen to the advice of our teacher Moshe. Moshe saw what the future obstacles of the Jewish people. The great sages (CHAZAL) put the fast day of Tisha B’av (9th in AV) not to be a day were we are restricted restricted, restricted, but more a time to reflect and be uplifted, uplifted, uplifted! It’s a day to remember and learn from our ancestors. We remember not to just remember, we remember only to fix what went horribly wrong. See—HaShem, your G_d has placed the land before you; go up and take possession, as HaShem, G-d of your forefathers, has spoken to you. Do not fear and do not lose resolve. (1:19-21)” Judaism and its inner beauty is masked. From the great words of King Solomon“ It is a tree of life for those who grasp it.” If we yearn for the deeper meaning, if we search for what is not understood, then it will be our vitality. The word AV means father. In this month more than ever we need to turn to our Father in Heaven. This Week I will try to: be sure to encapsulate and swallow the preceding generations’ flaws and change them. I will try to personally feel what is missing while trying to erase and fix the original reason. I will dig deep into myself and destroy what is stopping me from striving. I will remember that HaShem has rescued us in the wilderness, and will rescue us in this wilderness.

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