Ki Tavo

domino

“Accursed is one who leads a blind person astray.”
~ Deuteronomy 28:18

One of the consequences for the really bad transgressions is being cursed.

But what’s so terrible about misleading the blind? No one gets killed!

When someone who sees less than you – whether literally or figuratively – allows you to direct them, they’re putting their lives in your hands. If you deceive them, you break more than just their trust in you, but their ability to trust anyone.

Conversely, if you affirm their trust in you, you strengthen their faith in everyone.

Ki Teitzei

walls_floors

“When a man marries a new wife, he shouldn’t go to the army, nor obligate himself for any matter; he must be free for his home for one year and gladden his wife.”
~ Deuteronomy 24:5

Getting married is an exceptionally special time and good reason to celebrate.

But why quash all responsibilities beyond the marriage for the first year?

Like any long-term process, marriage is built brick-by-brick on the foundations we initially lay. The stronger the foundation, the higher we can build. While losing a war is terrible, a generation of broken homes is worse.

Don’t be impatient. Great homes need strong foundations. Take the time to lay the floor before putting the roof on.

Shoftim

gatecrasher

“Place for yourself judges and officers in all your gates.”
~ Deuteronomy 16:18

Establishing a just court-system is essential for any society.

But why only at the gates?

The gates are the portal through which a city is accessed. Prevention is better than cure, so while trouble is obviously unwelcome anywhere within a city, it’s most efficient to not let it in to begin with.

People have gates too: our five senses. We too need to be “judges and officers” ensuring what we see, eat, hear etc. is both physically – and spiritually – healthy.

Devarim

OldMoney

“Provide for yourself intelligent men who are wise.”
~ Deuteronomy 1:13

Moses gave specific criteria for choosing judges.

What did he add by saying they should be wise if they’re already intelligent?

It’s the difference between the rich and the enterprising: the rich are secure enough to relax when business is slow, while the enterprising go and make things happen.

Intelligent people know plenty but they’re often complacent in their knowledge. The wise, however, always seek to understand that which they don’t yet know.

Great judgment needs a combination of both.

Matot-Massei

AngryDrunk

“Elazar the Kohen said…‘This is the Torah decree which God commanded Moses.”
~ Numbers 31:21

He’s called ‘Moses our teacher’ because he taught us all of the Torah. Of the hundreds of laws, he said all but two.

Why did Elazar teach this specific one?

Because Moses forgot it.

He was in a temper about something and the law simply escaped him, even though he was right. Like inebriation, anger numbs the senses, reduces alertness and causes temporary amnesia.

When driving, we avoid both drunkenness and rage. Should the rest of life be any different?

Pinchas

BitterPill

“Take for yourself Joshua.”
~ Numbers 27:18

Knowing his tenure was almost over, Moses asked for a replacement.

Why did God use the word ‘take’, Joshua’s not an object?

Whenever ‘take’ is used in relation to people, it means take them with words, convince and persuade them. Apparently, Joshua needed to hear about the reward.

But why, isn’t leadership a great honour?

Taking responsibility is not a vacation. On the contrary, it’s fraught with challenges and difficulty. So, even the greatest need some sweet-talking to accept it.

Balak

Hide&Seek2

“Spend the night here and I’ll respond when God tells me.”
~ Numbers 21:27

Balak the Moabite King sent messengers to the evil prophet Bilaam, asking him to curse and thereby destroy the Jews.

Why did Bilaam tell the messengers to spend the night?

Because God only communicates with wicked prophets clandestinely at night, Bilaam couldn’t respond immediately. Therefore he was forced to behave like a man secretively sneaking out to visit his concubine.

Healthy spirituality may be personal and even private, but it has nothing to hide. If it does, it’s probably rotten.