The central part of the dovinning on Shabbat is when we take the Torah out of the Ark and read its holy, sacred and timeless words. People know that during the Torah reading one must be silent in order to follow each and every word. It is well known that in order to fulfill the mitzvah, one must actually hear the words as they are read. I would like to state that even this is not enough. Simply put; “hearing” is just Part 1. After hearing the words, one must listen to them, absorb them, internalize them and make them an active part of one’s life.
The same applies to the eyes. The Torah states, “Do not follow your eyes and your heart”. The fact that the Torah added the “heart” is because – like hearing – “seeing” is just Part 1. First a person sees something bad. If it would end there it would never lead to sin. In most cases, however, the person internalizes that sight into desire. According to the Zohar, “desire” dwells in the heart and once there, it is quite difficult to remove. This is why our Torah states, not to follow the heart. The bad things seen by the eyes should remain external… far away from the internal organ where things will only go bad.
Now back to “hearing”. For the past few weeks we have all heard the Torah reading. We have all heard the words spoken by our great Rebbe, Moshe Rabbeinu, as he stood on the East Bank shortly before his death. My question is not; “have you heard?” My question is “have you listened”?
Devarim: (1:8) “See! I have given the Land before you; come and possess the Land that Hashem swore to your forefathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give them and their children after them.”
Va’Etchanan: (4:1) “Now, O Israel, listen to the decrees and to the ordinances that I teach you to perform, so that you may live, and you will come and possess the Land…”
(4:14) “Hashem commanded me (Moshe) at that time to teach you decrees and ordinances, that you shall perform them in the Land…”
(6:1) “This is the commandment, and the decrees, and the ordinances that Hashem, your G-d, commanded to teach you, to perform in the Land…”
(6:23) “And He took us out of there (Egypt) in order to bring us to the Land…”
Eikev: (8:7-10) “For Hashem, your G-d, is bringing you to a good Land… a Land of wheat, barley, grape, fig and pomegranate, a Land of olives and date-honey, a Land where you will eat bread without poverty – you will lack nothing… you will eat and you will be satisfied, and bless Hashem your G-d, for the good Land that He gave you.”
(9:6) “And you should know that not because of your righteousness does Hashem, your G-d, give you this good Land to possess it, for you are a stiff-necked people.”
(11:22-25): “For if you will observe this entire commandment that I command you, to perform it, to love Hashem, your G-d, to walk in all His ways and to cleave to Him, Hashem will drive out all the nations from before you, and you will drive out greater and mightier nations than yourselves. Every place where the sole of your foot will tread shall be yours – from the Wilderness and the Lebanon, from the river, the Euphrates River (note: in Iraq!!!), until the Western Sea shall be your boundary. No man will stand up against you; Hashem, your G-d, will set your terror and fear on the entire face of the earth where you will tread…”
Re’eh: (12:1) These are the decrees and the ordinances that you shall observe to perform in the Land that Hashem, the G-d of your forefathers, has given you…
Have you been “listening” these past few weeks?
Do you realize what is being said by Moshe Rabbeinu thru your local “ba’al korey”?
I will not offer commentary on these p’sukim. I will not go into elaborate explanations or quote midrashim. While these verses are deep – they are also quite simple… providing you listen. Read these Parshas again. Understand their message for today’s generation. Internalize their lesson and make these – and every parsha – an integral part of your life.