Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Deuteronemy Ha'azinu Verses 32:1-32:52

Ha'azinu is a continuation of the parshat two weeks ago. We ended when God was about to have Moses read a poem to all the Jewish people. The poem sums up pretty much the whole Torah. It does not mention most laws, but it shows you what God can do.

It starts with something that some of us may think is obvious. "Listen, O heavens, and I will speak! And let the earth hear the words of my mouth!" (Deuteronomy 32:1). Although we find this obvious, listening is a skill that most people have lost greatly in the past 30 years. The reasoning being that most people have developed their own opinions and nobody wants to listen to another opinion. Even in ancient times, everybody just wanted to get up and leave for the Promised Land. We can learn from their mistakes. It never hurts to listen.

Now I just want to focus on one verse. "Destruction is not His; it is His children's defect you crooked and twisted generation" (Deuteronomy 32:5). This quote tells us that your job in life is not for you to succeed, but to raise your successers right. That means parent must bring up a successful generation. We are reminded that even though Moses's generation had successful getting out of bondage they brought up a generation of Israelites who had to be punished, wandering in the desert for fourty years.

Let us take a glance at the past two generations. That would be my parents and grandparents. I would say they were pretty successful. Revolusionizing industry and technology. The film, sports, scientific and medical success of the 20th Century is astounding. Jonas Salk, the Jewish man who found a vaccine for polio can not take all credit for his discovery in 1955. His parents are responsible for bringing him up the right way. Any success you here about, you must remember the parents.

This may get you thinking, what are we in for in 20 years. Since 1969, Americans have been involoved in 10 wars. Many of which were started by American government. Honestly, I am worried for my generation. I am concerned because the ideas of the Torah are becoming irrelevent. The television and interenet are turning into bigger influences everyday. Many families like my own are very well bonded, but the world is always on the run and the American family is torn apart trying to catch it.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Deuteronomy Nitzavim and Vayeilech Verses 29:9-31-30

Although Rosh Hashana is next week, Nitzavim and Vayeilech are NOT the last two Torah portions.(As conveniently explained to me by Rabbi Milder) You got that right folks two portions, one week. That seems to happen every once in a while. We join our Jews on the border of the Jordan River. Moses is 120 years old and is leaving our world to go to the next.

The coincidental thing is this Shabbat falls on the eighth anniversary of 9/11. Where 2,993 (numbers from almost all innocent people moved from our world to the next. 6,291 or even more had been injured Fathers, mothers, brothers, and sisters. Our neighbors, our friends. 2,993 is just a large enough number that almost anybody knows someone in the accident. I thank God every year that my father and mother did not work in the Twin Towers that day. I am sorry to all those who did lose someone close. In my opinion, the attack is the most horrific thing that has happened since the Holocaust.

The biggest difference is the people of 9/11 died for no reason and Moses could not live to go into the Promised Land for two reasons. 1. He committed murder as an Egyptian abused a slave. 2. He smashed the Ten Commandments into a mountain side. One thing I liked about this particular portion is the role Joshua plays.

The scene depicts the seniority of Levites in the Tent of Meeting blessing Joshua as the Lord appears to them in the form of a cloud. Moses is getting ready to leave the world and gives the advice of his past to Joshua. L'Dor V'Dor! Although they are not son and father, this reminds me of when my parents will advise me as I become a man in the Jewish community on October 17th.

Moses will definitely be missed by the people of Israel as Deuteronomy finishes, but they must remember Moses. One thing I insist you remember from this blog post is that one someone passes the greatest honor you can give them is to remember them. Whether its Abraham, Issac, Jacob, Moses, or even a friend or family member, remember them. If you miss Ted Kennedy, remember him. We remember the Twin Towers every year on this day that shows another year further away from that tragic day. Today in school, we dignified the event by having a schoolwide moment of silence at 9:00 a.m. That is when the planes approximately hit.

The lights that go up tonight reminds me of the scene in the Tent of Meeting. As the holy event happens, the Lord shoots light into the sky and the Israelites remember. (Note, he did not actually do this in the parsha. This is my imagination.) Whether you shoot light above one of the biggest skylines in the world or crossing the Jordan River, remember the dead.