Nitzavim

4

“You’re standing today – all of you – before God: your heads, your tribes, your elders, and your officers, all the men of Israel, your children, your wives, and your stranger in the midst of your camp, from the hewer of your wood to the drawer of your water.”
~ Deuteronomy 29:9-10

On the last day of his life, Moses gathered the entire people to stand before God.

Why the detailed list?

To communicate a crucial message: authority, social stature, age, intelligence, gender, religion and career have no significance in God’s eyes.

The mystics reveal that when the Hebrew letters of the word כלכם “all of you” are rearranged, they spell כמלך “like royalty”. It’s not just that we’re all equal – we’re all equally great.

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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.