Make a Fixed Time for Study

עשה תורתך קבע – אמור מעט ועשה הרבה

Beyond Tisha B’Av – Upward and Onward #Torah #Va-etchanan

Posted by rabbiart on July 31, 2009

In Jewish tradition, there is no such thing as luck. No coincidences either. The expressionswe often think of as meaning “good luck” actually means nothing of the kind. The word “mazal” has to do with flow. We might even think cosmic flow, or better yet HaShem’s flow. So it can’t be luck or coincidence that we read Va-Etchanon right after celebrating/commemorating Tisha B’Av.Va-Etchanon begins in the middle of Devarim Chapter 3.  The chapter itself begins  with these two words – וַנֵּפֶן וַנַּעַל – We turned and went way up. In the verse itself the going up is to do battle with Bashan, but in our lives we have different challenges to face and battles to fight. Bashan is no longer a threat. Bashan, like so many of our historical enemies, no longer exists.  We are still here.

Our second verse has another powerful post Tisha B’av message that we can borrow from its original context. (And we don’t have to give it back!). וַיֹּאמֶר יְהוָה אֵלַי, אַל-תִּירָא And YH-WH said, “Don’t be afraid”. Again, in the original context it is a directive to Moshe to not fear Og the Kin of Bashan. In our time we should listen to the message of “Fear Not”!

We’re about to read seven haftorot of consolation and encouragement as we prepare to begin – once again – a New Year.  We bring a lot of baggage with us. The historical legacy of the Jewish tradition, and our personal legacy of climbing our own spiritual ladder each year.  It can be too easy to be discouraged.

What else can we take from  this parshah to lighten our load?

We have been given great gifts (verse 18 and lets not worry – on Shabbes at least – about all the current conflicts over the land we are given.

We are taught how to encourage and strengthen each other, like Moshe giving what energy and strength he still had in his old age to the new leader Joshua.

We are given a system for living (verse 4:1 and let’s not worry – on Shabbes at least – about how Klal Yisrael might reunite ourselves into a unified community and understanding of what our system for living is.

We are reminded that the system we have been given can actually work, and we repeat this reminder every week when we take out our Book of Teaching and read from it.

וְאַתֶּם, הַדְּבֵקִים, בַּיהוָה, אֱלֹהֵיכֶם–חַיִּים כֻּלְּכֶם, הַיּוֹם

Those of you (read us) who stuck with and stuck ourselves to HaShem are alive all of you (us) this day!

No more need be said…. except…
Shabbat Shalom

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