Friday, July 31, 2009

Deuteronemy Va'etchanan Verses 3:23 - 7:11

We join the Israelites in the Valley of the Jordan River waiting to be allowed into the Promised Land. Moses can not go into the Promised Land though. Moses has not trusted God and has not been honest enough to enter the Promised Land. Anyways Moses is talking to the people about God wants. This makes me think of Palin's recent resignation speech.

Deuteronomy really did review this week. The ten commandments were right in the middle of this parsha. What I liked here is that God did not mention what happened in the desert. He did not mention how the fathers and grandfathers of the people before Him had betrayed God, but God mentions the Ten Commandments and all of the sudden the V'ahavta comes up.

The V'ahavta is a prayer that begins with the Sh'ma and ode to how there is only one God in the heavens and the Earth. Is it just a coincidence the prayer is right after God talks about the Ten Commandments. If you remember the Israelites made a fake idol because they were bored of having no Moses when he was getting the Ten Commandments.

As for Moses resigning, it makes me think of baseball. We all do bad things, but not all of us deceive our people. David Ortiz said in February any person that took steroids should be abolished from baseball. Yesterday, a report was released that David Ortiz took steroids himself. Should the A-Rods, the Manny's and the Papi's of the world get to go into the Hall of Fame? Is the Hall of Fame, the chance of being remember for eternity, their Promised Land?

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Deuteronomy Devarim Verse 1:1-3:22

We are in a new book of the Torah, Deuteronomy. I have heard that it is a review and wrap-up of the Torah. We will see if that is true. This week however it was not. We are out of the desert! Finally. No more wandering. Last week, I talked about honesty and respect. This week I will focus on trust. Honesty and trust are like Batman and Robin. If one is missing, the other will not work on its own. Once the Israelites are finally out of the desert for betraying God, they blow it. God tells them that over the mountain in Jordan is the Promised Land, but the Israelites do not believe him. They do not trust him.

Since they do not trust God, they send in a few men to inspect the Promised Land. Obviously, if it was promised it will not be too shabby. God gets very upset at his people. He gives them the freedom and they do not trust him. Sometimes as we experience the hardships of life like the Israelites we lose our sense of trust too.
Only a few of the grown Israelites made it into Israel. The innocent children also make it.

When bad things happen to us, we lose our faith. I have a story. One of the days after my sister's bat mitzvah I asked God a favor. I asked him to keep all four of my grandparents healthy for my bar mitzvah three years later. At times things have been shaky, but God-willing they can all come in good health. What I do when I lose trust with God which does happen when I am upset, is simply say I am sorry. If we all just trusted everyone around us including God, we would feel better. If we all were honesty to everyone around us including God, we would trust each other more. Honesty and trust go hand in hand.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Numbers Matot and Masei Verses 30:2-36:13

Two parshas in one week again! I only had the time to do one, but I thought I should let you know there were two.

Matot-This parsha focused on one thing, how valuble honesty is. It says if a woman breaks her vow while in her father's household and her father has no objection, the father continues to trust the woman. If her father has objection no promises will be trusted again. Does how honest we are depend on our parents? According to the Torah, Honest Abe's dad is the guy that had an objection and Bernie Madoff's dad is the one that let it go.

With honesty comes loyalty. People wonder why God made the Israelites wander in the desert for 40 years. Loyalty. The Israelites did nothing wrong in Egypt, but God felt after being in the desert for a year or two his people had betrayed him. When we leave our mothers and fathers, do we betray them? We have no one telling us rules. Rules our parents were strict about. God, our almighty parent, granted us freedom. Did we betray him? We complained and distrusted God's decisions. We even made a golden idol to replace God. God did not let the same people who crossed the Red Sea into the promised land. He let them wander for 40 years instead. In a way, people who have no respect for their parents after they leave and get involved with drugs or other bad things wander for 40 years too.

Friday, July 03, 2009

Numbers Balak Verses 22:2-25:9

This week's parsha was a story about 2 opposite people. Our first character was Balaam. He is lives by the Euphrates River and must do as the Lord commands. Balak is king of Moab, a land closer to the land of Egypt. He would like to curse the Israelites who are traveling near by to prevent from being conquerred. Balak sends his servants to call Balaam to help with the cursing.

Balaam refuses to go to Moab, relying on his faith. God told him not to go. Balaam's faith is so strong that he would not go for a house full of gold and silver riches as Balak promised. I do not think I would go for a house full of gold and silver riches either.

Then, God tells Balaam he may go. Balak orders Balaam to build seven alters and sacrifice seven rams and seven bulls. Each time God blesses the Israelites, he does not curse them at all. Balak tells Balaam to go home and that he will never get the riches which would have been rewarded to him. Balaam replies that he could not accept the riches unless God would let him. Balaam also tells of the destruction of the city of Ir. As usual,God and faith will conquer any sword.

Think back to the Holocaust. Many people ask how God could of let a thing like that happen. I reply he let it end. One reason I think is because of faith. The Jews of Europe celebrated Shabbat and remained Jewish as much as they could. In turn, the Jews were liberated. The Allies conquered Hitler. Faith conquered the Balak.