This week’s parasha continues Moshe Rabbeinu‘s recounting of the Jewish people’s recent history. He tells how he prayed countless times to be allowed into the Holy Land but was denied his request as a result of the Jewish nation’s actions.
Moshe Rabbeinu implores the people to follow the mitzvos, commandments, of the Torah. He expounds on the blessings and curses, promises and covenants that exist between Hashem and the Jewish people, reminding them that they heard Hashem speak directly to them.
Next Moshe Rabbeinu sets aside three cities of refuge. He continues teaching, telling over the Aseres Hadibros, the Ten Commandments, anew. He reminds them about Matan Torah, the receiving of the Torah, and gives over the Shema. He covers more aspects of our faith, including trusting in Hashem and raising our children in the ways of the Torah.
That is such a brief summary because the amount of material covered in this week’s parasha is seriously overwhelming!
Let’s talk about one specific part of the parasha: Shema. Shema is recited by the Jewish people at least twice a day. It is our affirmation of “connection, trust and devotion” between Hashem and the Jewish nation. Clearly this prayer holds a very special place in Tanach (Bible) if we are obliged to recite it so often.
The Chofetz Chaim tells us that a Jew must approach every day with three thoughts: today is my only day to live, the chapter of Talmud that I am learning now is all there is to learn and master, and I am the only Jew alive, bringing the responsibility of the world to rest squarely on my shoulders.
Why should a Jew keep these things in mind? Is this really how we should think?
Rather than being sure that there is always time “later” and “somebody else”, the first verse of Shema says “You shall love Hashem your Lord with all your heart, with all your soul and with all your resources.”
Keeping such an attitude – I am the ONLY ONE who can accomplish that which Hashem wants to be accomplished today – can only come from complete dedication of ourselves to Hashem’s will. Today is a brand new day for me to fulfill Hashem’s bidding.
Today is the first day of the rest of your life.
(Based on a dvar Torah from torah.org by Rabbi Pinchas Avruch)
The war in Eretz Yisroel is still going on. Please keep the soldiers, residents, and all of the Jewish nation in your prayers.
Listening to the night silence after a day and a half of nonstop music since the Nine Days ended.