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Episode 4: “In Search of Meaningful Prayer”

“The stones remember the prayers and the tears” explained the shul gabbai as he refused to allow the floor of his synagogue to be dismantled and used in a grand mosaic floor installation at Hadassah Hospital.

Today, this story’s protagonists are gone, but the stones remain – and they tell a story of authentic prayer. Watch the fourth episode in Rabbi Kenneth Brander’s powerful new series, “If These Stones Could Speak” about the hidden messages from our past that exist throughout the Land of Israel.

This week’s episode is dedicated in memory of the victims of this Shabbat’s terror attack who lost their lives outside of a different synagogue in Jerusalem. May all of the injured victims have a refua shlayma, a quick and full recovery.

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Episode 3: “Elevating the Mundane”

How did Napoleon’s royal coat get from the snowy plains of Russia to the “Beit Israel” synagogue in Yemin Moshe, Jerusalem – the first shul to be built outside the Old City walls?

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Episode 2: “A Community Built by Unity”

In Jerusalem, there’s a well-known Orthodox synagogue whose land was donated by the Conservative movement, while its first Torah scroll was dedicated by none other than Rabbi Abraham Isaac Kook, Israel’s first Chief Rabbi. Would such a cooperation be possible today? 

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Episode 1: “A Matter of Trust”

Why was there a large oven built behind the “Hagra” Synagogue in Jerusalem’s Shaarei Chesed neighborhood? Does the fact that each family has its own oven today distance us from one another? And how can we recreate a cohesive, trusting community atmosphere?

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“If These Stones Could Speak” is a powerful new video series following  OTS President and Rosh HaYeshiva Rabbi Kenneth Brander as he explores off the beaten track sites throughout Israel.  In each week’s short video, Rabbi Brander will bring to life long-forgotten stories and uncover hidden messages from the past that will help us build a better, more just and more unified future.

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“Parsha and Purpose” – Vayelech 5783 
Rabbi Kenneth Brander’s weekly insights into the parsha 

 “Joshua and the Power of Collaborative Leadership

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 Parshat Vayelech

“Joshua and the Power of Collaborative Leadership”

Parshat Vayelech marks the transition from Moshe to his prize student, Yehoshua. They are such different leaders, even though they have similar experiences.

For example, when Moshe has to cross the Yam Suf with the Jewish People, he does it by his mighty staff. (Exodus 13:17 – 15:21)

In contrast, Yehoshua has to cross the Jordan with the Jewish People. He tells the Jewish People, we can cross the Jordan only when there is a representative of every tribe. That begins the process with the Aron Brit HaShem, with the Ark of the Covenant. (Joshua 3:11-13)

Moshe formalizes a relationship between God and the Jewish People on Mount Sinai; Moshe is alone. (Exodus, Chapters 19-20)

When Yehoshua formalizes a relationship between God and the Jewish People, he tells the Jewish People that they must part of that covenant. They will have to agree to certain norms and mores, and as part of this covenant, they will have to state that they are committed to it. (Joshua, Chapter 24)

When Moshe becomes the leader, God tells him, “Shal na’alecha me’al raglecha”. Take off your shoes. (Exodus 3:5)

Shoes represent someone who treads in the everyday. God is making clear to Moshe, ‘You are going to be the leader of the Jewish People. You are not going to tread in the everyday.’

When Yehoshua becomes the leader, God tells him, “Shal na’alcha”, take off one shoe. (Joshua 5:15)

As the second leader of the Jewish People, you will be part of the everyday. But you will also be a spiritual oasis; you won’t be part of the everyday. You will have to tread between two paradigms at the same time.

Moshe has a prayer, “Az Yashir Moshe”, that he leads, and then the Jewish People follow. (Exodus 15:1-19)

Yehoshua’s prayer is “Aleinu Le’shabe’ach”, ‘we will pray together’. (Teshuvot HaGe’onim, Sha’arei Teshuva, Chapter 43)

They are different paradigms of leadership.

The paradigm of Moshe’s leadership is necessary to move the Jewish People from a slave mentality to a nation of destiny. Yehoshua’s leadership is necessary to move the Jewish People to a paradigm in which they enter the land and they will be able to engage in partnership and collaboration.

We live in a world of “Yehoshua”, where we are all leaders in our own lives and in the lives of our families and our communities. It is not about one person, but about the capacity to work together, to engage – like Yehoshua – in a partnership: to cross the body of water together, to tread by wearing one shoe on and one shoe off, to say a prayer such as “Aleinu Le’shabe’ach”, which emphasizes the need for all of us to collaborate.

We’re told in the Gemara:

פני משה כפני חמה; פני יהושע כפני לבנה

Moshe’s face radiates like the sun; Yehoshua’s face radiates like the moon.
(Bava Batra 75a)

At first glance, it seems like Moshe is the most powerful leader, while Yehoshua is a minor leader. But there is a different, deeper message here.

When you go out in the sun, all you see is the sun. That was Moshe. All you saw when Moshe led was the fact that he needed to do everything.

But when you go outside at night and you see the moon, you also see all the stars around the moon. Yehoshua’s paradigm of leadership was one in which he collaborated with others to move ideas forward.

As we are in the middle of the high holiday season and we refocus on our lives and what we want to accomplish, let us remember it is the Yehoshua paradigm of leadership that ultimately succeeds in bringing the Jewish People into the Land of Israel.

It is a paradigm of partnership and engagement, a paradigm of leadership that the Jewish People did not rebel against even once. It is the Yehoshua paradigm of leadership that we need to implement in our lives, in the lives of our children and family, and in our communities.

Shabbat Shalom and G’mar Chatima Tova.

“Parsha and Purpose” – Nitzavim 5782 
Rabbi Kenneth Brander’s weekly insights into the parsha 

 “When the King is in the Field

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 Parshat Nitzavim / Elul

When the King is in the Field

“HaMelech ba’sadeh” – The King is in the field. 

This is the way the Ba’al haTanya describes the essence of the month of Elul. (Rabbi Shneur Zalman of Liady, the first Lubavitcher Rebbe; Likkutei Torah, Parshat Re’eh, 32b)

This is a tremendous difference from the way the Kabbalists discussed this month, which is that Elul is a time of fear.

“Tiku ba’chodesh shofar” – this is a month in which we blow the shofar – “bakeseh l’yom chageinu”. (Psalms 81:4)

We should be “kisuiy”: covered, intimidated and concerned.

But the Ba’al haTanya looks at it differently: “HaMelech ba’sadeh”, the King is in the field. To visit a king or a queen – as we’re learning about with Queen Elizabeth in her palace – that’s almost impossible. And when it happens, it’s very formal.

But when the king or the queen is in the “sadeh” – in the field – the informality allows for conversations with the common folk in a totally different way.

Asks the Ba’al haTanya: Do you know what the month of Elul is about? It’s not a month of trepidation or intimidation. It’s a month in which we have the opportunity to focus because God is walking in the fields. God, the King, is walking in the streets. 

He wants to say hello to us in the most informal fashion. He wants to have a relationship with us. And you know what happens when we can have an informal relationship with God?

When we can meet him in the highways and byways of life, we can meet Him on the street, then when we enter His palace during the holidays of Rosh HaShana (when we coronate Him as our King) and Yom HaKippurim, then the relationship is totally different, because the relationship started in a more informal, experiential manner.

May we truly understand this message of the Ba’al haTanya: “HaMelech ba’sadeh”, The King is in the field. He’s looking for us. He wants to engage us.

Let us find the moments to create an informal relationship with God. It will help us on the High Holidays and it will help us for the rest of our life.

Shabbat Shalom and Ketiva v’Chatima Tova.

“Parsha and Purpose” – Ki Tavo 5782 
Rabbi Kenneth Brander’s weekly insights into the parsha 

 “Inspiration, Empowerment and a Stolen Shofar

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 Parshat Ki Tavo / Elul

“Inspiration, Empowerment and a Stolen Shofar”

We find ourselves right before Rosh Hashana, and there is a very interesting halakha regarding the shofar:

הגוזל שופר ותקע בו יצא…

Normally, we do not allow the use of a stolen object to fulfill a mitzvah. Nevertheless, if you steal a shofar and you hear that sound, it’s obviously not the best sound that you can hear on Rosh Hashana – no one wants to hear a sound on Rosh Hashana from a stolen shofar – but if that’s the sound that I hear, I still fulfill my obligation. (Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chayyim 586:2)

Why is this? Because of the halakhic principle of

אין בקול דין גזל

There is no such thing as stealing a sound. (Maimonides, Laws of Shofar, Sukkah and Lulav 1:3)

Yet there is another interesting halakha that states:

המתעסק בתקיעת שופר להתלמד לא יצא ידי חובתו וכן השומע מן המתעסק לא יצא

If I’m walking by a person’s yard or a person’s home, and a person is practicing the Shofar on Rosh Hashana, and I hear 100 blasts from his practicing, I do not fulfill my obligation. (Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chayyim 589:8)

Why is it that I can fulfill the mitzvah of hearing the sound of the shofar blasts via a stolen shofar, but not if I hear a person practicing with a pristine shofar on Rosh Hashana?

I believe that the underlying message is that Rosh Hashana is the beginning of the process of re-engaging with God.

We are trying to find our own sound, and there will always be something that is not perfect about our sound when we begin to create a relationship with God.

It will never be fully authentic.

Every one of us on Rosh Hashana is not fully engaged yet – it’s the beginning of the process.

As much as we try, and as hard as we work beforehand, a stolen sound still works, because all of us – even with the most pristine shofar – have a little bit of a stolen sound in our psyche, in our essence, we’re just not there yet.

But we have to try. We have to work hard. Therefore, we cannot fulfill the mitzvah via a shofar sounded not in order to inspire and empower us, but rather sounded for practice, because it must be a shofar sound intended to inspire the people around him.

It must be a shofar sound committed to trying to make a difference.

As we begin the process of Rosh Hashana, let us work to realize that it is okay if our spiritual sound is not completely authentic.

At the same time, it cannot be that we are in a state of “מתעסק” / practicing; that we are just in a state of a robotic routine.

Instead, we have to work hard to find a new energy, a new music in our relationship to God, in our relationship to our families, and really in our relationship to ourselves.

Shabbat Shalom and Ketiva v’Chatima Tova.

 

“Parsha and Purpose” – Ki Teitze 5782 
Rabbi Kenneth Brander’s weekly insights into the parsha 

 “Purim in Elul: Creating a Loving Engagement with God

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 Parshat Ki Teitze / Elul

“Purim in Elul: Creating a Loving Engagement with God

We have entered the month of Elul, the month of preparation before the holidays of Rosh Hashanah, Yom HaKippurim and Sukkot, those days of awe.

Elul, the time in which we ask ourselves the most challenging questions: “What have we accomplished?” “What more can we accomplish?” “How can we grow into the people we can truly be?” “How can we improve our relationship with our family, our engagement with society?” “How can we create and reconcile our relationship with God?”

In fact, the Rabbis suggest that Elul [אלול] is an acronym for:

אני לדודי ודודי לי 

I am to my Beloved (God), and my Beloved is to me (God needs me, also). (Song of Songs 6:3)

Elul is about a rapprochement between ourselves and God.

However, others suggest that Elul represents something totally different, namely, that the acronym of the word is:

איש לרעהו ומתנות לאביונים

…[sending gifts] to one another and presents to the poor. (Esther 9:22)

In other words, Elul is a time for us to re-engage with our friends, and this is a time to make sure that we are responsible to help those in need.

What connection does that have to the month of Elul? I thought that that is really the theme of Purim.

In fact, the Rabbis are making a very important point.

If we want to reconcile and improve our relationship to God, we have to first realize it’s “איש לרעהו ומתנות לאביונים”: We have to improve society.

We have to be concerned about the way we engage and talk with our friends. We have to be concerned with those who are living in challenging times.

It is only when we do “איש לרעהו ומתנות לאביונים”; it is only when we celebrate that acronym that we can then achieve “אני לדודי ודודי לי”. It is only then that we can create a loving engagement, a loving interaction with God.

Shabbat Shalom and Ketiva v’Chatima Tova.

 

“Parsha and Purpose” – Shoftim 5782 
Rabbi Kenneth Brander’s weekly insights into the parsha 

 “Judaism’s Views of Government: Democracy or Monarchy?”

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 Parshat Shoftim

“Judaism’s Views of Government: Democracy or Monarchy?

Winston Churchill once said, “Democracy is the worst form of government, except for all those other forms that have been tried from time to time” (Speech in the British Parliament, November 11, 1947).

What form of government does Judaism prefer? Monarchy, democracy or theocracy?

We’re told in this week’s Torah portion:

כִּי תָבֹא אֶל הָאָרֶץ אֲשֶׁר ה’ אֱ-לֹהֶיךָ נֹתֵן לָךְ וִירִשְׁתָּהּ וְיָשַׁבְתָּה בָּהּ וְאָמַרְתָּ אָשִׂימָה עָלַי מֶלֶךְ כְּכׇל הַגּוֹיִם אֲשֶׁר סְבִיבֹתָי׃

If, after you have entered the land that the Lord your God has assigned to you, and –having taken possession of it and settled in it – you decide, “I will set a king over me, as do all the nations about me…” (Deuteronomy 17:14)

It would seem from the above verses that monarchy is preferred. However, many do not view it as such. First, because of context clues.

The Torah opens Parshat Shoftim with the command:

שֹפְטִים וְשֹׁטְרִים תִּתֶּן לְךָ בְּכׇל שְׁעָרֶיךָ אֲשֶׁר ה’ אֱ-לֹהֶיךָ נֹתֵן לְךָ לִשְׁבָטֶיךָ וְשָׁפְטוּ אֶת הָעָם מִשְׁפַּט צֶדֶק׃

You shall appoint magistrates and officials for your tribes, in all the settlements that the Lord your God is giving you, and they shall govern the people with due justice.  (ibid., 16:18)

לֹא תַטֶּה מִשְׁפָּט לֹא תַכִּיר פָּנִים וְלֹא תִקַּח שֹׁחַד כִּי הַשֹּׁחַד יְעַוֵּר עֵינֵי חֲכָמִים וִיסַלֵּף דִּבְרֵי צַדִּיקִם׃ 

You shall not judge unfairly: you shall show no partiality; you shall not take bribes, for bribes blind the eyes of the discerning and upset the plea of the just.(ibid., v. 19)

And this culminates with the clarion call for a clear form of justice:

צֶדֶק צֶדֶק תִּרְדֹּף לְמַעַן תִּחְיֶה וְיָרַשְׁתָּ אֶת הָאָרֶץ אֲשֶׁר ה’ אֱ-לֹהֶיךָ נֹתֵן לָךְ׃

Justice, justice shall you pursue, that you may thrive and inherit the land that the Lord your God is giving you. (ibid., v. 20)

In fact, we’re told if a case is too baffling for the local courts to decide, you don’t bring it to the king. Whether it’s a controversy over homicide, civil law or assault, any matters of dispute in the courts that can’t be judged by the local courts:

…וְקַמְתָּ וְעָלִיתָ אֶל הַמָּקוֹם אֲשֶׁר יִבְחַר ה’ אֱ-לֹהֶיךָ בּוֹ׃

…you shall promptly ascend to the place that the Lord your God will have chosen.  (ibid., 17:8)

Furthermore:

וּבָאתָ אֶל הַכֹּהֲנִים הַלְוִיִּם וְאֶל הַשֹּׁפֵט…

Go to the priests, the Levites, and the judge... (ibid., v. 9)

The Torah tells us to go to those who have integrity and scholarship – to help us adjudicate and make sure there’s justice in the land.

In other words, as James Monroe once stated “the best form of government is that which is most likely to prevent the greatest sum of evil.”

There is a balance of power here. Etched into the parsha is that the king is not the sole ruler. There is no absolute power, there is no absolute authority.

There are legislative and judicial branches run by the courts: the Kohanim and the judges. In fact, unless he has approval from the Sanhedrin, the king can wage only defensive wars and, according to some, capture the land of Israel.

The king cannot have too many horses, cannot marry too many women, and must write his own Sefer Torah that accompanies him throughout his life, in order to place limitations on his stature and to ensure that there is no abuse of power, to remain mindful of the true source of his power, God. (ibid., 17:16-20)

However, there are those that suggest that even from these verses, there is no clear indication about the responsibility to appoint a king.

Yes, Maimonides and the Laws of Kings (1:1) says that this is one of the commandments.

But Rav Ovadia Seforno comments that a king is despised by God, and is to be appointed only when there is a necessity, when there’s a need of protection against the nations of the world (Rav Ovadia Seforno’s commentary to Deuteronomy 17:14).

The Abarbanel states, like the Seforno, that it is not a mitzvah. And he reminds us of what happens in the Book of Shmuel when the Jewish people tell Shmuel, ‘You’ve grown old. Your sons have not followed your ways. Therefore appoint a king for us, to govern us, like all the other nations’ (I Samuel 8:5).

Which would seem to be consistent with what we read in our Torah portion.

Shmuel is upset, and God tells him, ‘Heed the demand of the people because everything they’re saying to you is not because they have rejected you, Shmuel, it’s because they have rejected me as a king’ (ibid., v. 6-7).

In fact, the Abarbanel is an advocate for other forms of government and feels a king is only a last resort (Rav Isaac Abarbanel’s commentary to Parshat Shoftim).

He supports the idea of government with term limits to avoid corruption, and states clearly that there should be leaders who have a maximum time in office of four years.

The Netziv looks at the paradigms of Maimonides and the paradigms of the Abarbanel, and he merges the perspectives. He says it might be that Maimonides is correct, that it might be a commandment, if necessary, to have a king (Commentary of HaEmek Davar to Deuteronomy 17:14).

But when democracy works better, when democracy can protect the people better, then it’s “pikuach nefesh“, then it is a form of making sure that every individual life is protected.

Therefore, if democracy can work better, then the commandment, even according to Maimonides, would be suspended in order to make sure we have a better form of government.

What is the message of all this? That leadership is not a right; it is a privilege.

And the responsibility of leaders is to be able to give of themselves. In the process, they become better people, they live more meaningful lives, and in the process, please God, they empower others.

Shabbat Shalom

“Parsha and Purpose” – Re’eh 5782 
Rabbi Kenneth Brander’s weekly insights into the parsha 

 “Mishneh Torah: The Role of Humankind in the Writings of God

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Parshat Re’eh

Mishneh Torah: The Role of Humankind in the Writings of God

In Parshat Re’eh, we find ourselves moving towards the middle of the Book of Devarim, the fifth and final Book of the Torah. The Rabbis refer to the Book of Devarim as “Mishneh Torah”. [Midrash Sifri]

Nachmanides explains that the reason why it’s called Mishneh Torah: it is a review of basic precepts necessary for the Jewish People to remember before they enter the Land of Israel and create a location, Eretz Yisrael, which is really the anchor of Jewish society of Torah and mitzvot.

And therefore Nachmanides says it’s called Mishneh Torah because it’s the basic ideals that are necessary when the Jewish People enter the Land of Israel. [Introduction to Deuteronomy].

The challenge with this wondrous idea of Nachmanides is it does not bear itself out in the list of commandments that are mentioned for the first time in the Book of Devarim. So many of them have nothing to do with the Jewish People entering the Land of Israel: the commandment to love God, the institution of marriage, to study Torah, to teach it, to recite the Shema, the responsibility of the Grace after Meals.

In our parsha, the institution of Kashrut, the idea of Shatnez, the prohibition of wearing a garment with wool and linen, the responsibility of giving charity or returning lost property. None of those things have anything to do with entering the Land of Israel.

And therefore the Talmud [Bava Batra 88b, Megillah 31b and Tosfot’s comments there (s.v. “Moshe”)], the Kabbalists [Zohar, vol. 3 (Deuteronomy), Parshat Va’etchanan], the Ohr HaChaim (Rav Chaim ibn Attar) [Commentary to Deuteronomy 1:1], the Gaon of Vilna [cited by Ohel Ya’akov, Deuteronomy, page 20], the Maharal [Tiferet Yisrael ch. 43] and so many others give a different explanation for why this final book of the Torah is called Mishneh Torah.

If the relationship between God and the Jewish People is to be guaranteed, there must be two partners in the scribing of the Torah.

The first four books of the Torah is the first paradigm of “God-speak”. It is written in the third person. It is completely articulated by God and scribed by Moshe.

The fifth book, the final book, is “Mishneh Torah”. It is literally a second Torah, a different paradigm of God-speak, in which Moshe scribes the text, God approves the text, Moshe scribes it with Ruach HaKodesh, God approves it and then Moshe finalizes the text.

The idea being that if we’re going to have a relationship between God and the Jewish People, it is not just God that has to convene and bring and share with us the Torah.

There needs to be a partnership with the Jewish People in its creation, completely approved by God.

These are the five books of the Torah. They are divine books, but we need to see, as we see in Devarim, a form of contribution by Moshe on behalf of the Jewish People, a book that is not written in the third person, but in the second person.

This is an important message for each and every one of us.

If Torah is going to exist forever, if we’re going to continue to guarantee its eternality, both partners have to play a role. We need to play a role. We need to understand how to bring Torah into the modern era.

Not that we should water down Torah, not that we should compromise Torah. But what makes Torah “ki heim chayeinu ve orech yameinu”, what makes Torah eternal is when it can deal with contemporary situations, contemporary realities.

And the reality of the “Mishneh Torah” celebrates the human role in the scribing of the Torah. The second paradigm of God-speak.

The responsibility for each and every one of us, as we read through Sefer Devarim, to remember that God is looking for our voice – based on the principles that God has established – to guarantee His future role in society, and to guarantee our participation in making this a more perfect society.

Shabbat Shalom

“Parsha and Purpose” – Ekev 5782 
Rabbi Kenneth Brander’s weekly insights into the parsha 

 “The Second Tablets: Building the Next Step in our Relationship with God

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Parshat Ekev

“The Second Tablets: Building the Next Step in our Relationship with God”

Relationships of any sort, to be meaningful and effective, must be reciprocal. This is obviously true in a relationship between husband and wife. And it’s true in a relationship between parent and children. Parents give so much to their children, and at a certain time in the relationship, the children begin to give back so much to the parents.

Throughout Tanach, we see relationships that fail when there isn’t a certain reciprocity.

When Adam and Chava are placed in the Garden of Eden, and they are passive in their relationship with God – they have no requirements – the relationship really fails.

Adam and Chava are banished from the Garden of Eden, and only then do they play an active role, a meaningful role, a strong role, in a relationship with God.

In fact, we’re told on the first Saturday night that Adam and Eve are outside of the Garden of Eden, they actually – with God – they create fire [Pesachim 54a].

And that is also true about reciprocity in a relationship between God and the Jewish people.

When God gives the Jewish people the first set of Luchot, our Rabbis tell us throughout the Midrashim, that God gives the Jewish people the Written and Oral Law together. [See Drasha 18 of the Beit haLevi, who elaborates on this point].

The role of the Jewish people is simply to be the receptacle of the Torah, but they really don’t play any role in developing the Torah.

And what happens to the first Luchot? What happens to this Torah, for which there is no Oral Tradition at all, and in which everything is written? That relationship fails.

When the Jewish people are passive, when there’s no engagement from their side in the relationship with God, that is a relationship that cannot work. And therefore, that set of Luchot are shattered [Exodus 32:19].

Those Luchot had a purpose. They demonstrate God’s interest in creating a covenant with the Jewish people and with all of society. But they fail because they cannot endure if etched within the covenant, the Jewish people are not a partner in the relationship and are not active.

And in this week’s Torah portion, Ekev, when we are told about the second Luchot, the Torah is very clear about what happens with the second writing by Moshe:

בעת ההוא אמר ה’ אלי פסל־לך שני־לוחת אבנים כראשנים…

God tells Moshe, ‘Write a second set of tablets that are like the first ones…’ [Deuteronomy 10:1]


They’re not exactly the same; they’re “ka-rishonim”, like the first ones.

And the text continues:

ואכתוב על הלוחות את הדברים אשר היו על הלוחות הראשונים אשר שיברת

And what does Moshe communicate?

‘I wrote on the second set of Tablets the messages that were found on the first Tablets when they were broken.’

Meaning, when there was a bifurcation between the Oral and the Written Tradition; when there was no longer this idea that God would give the Jewish people both the Oral and Written Torah together.

That the Jewish People would now be responsible for writing part of the Torah, and God would be responsible for writing part of the Torah.

That God would give the Jewish People the Written Torah, and it was the responsibility to communicate the messages of the Oral Tradition from generation to generation. 

That every generation would build on the messages of the generation of the past, that now the Jewish People had a role.

That is the promise of the second Luchot, of the second Tablets: a new paradigm of the relationship between God and the Jewish people.

It highlights the responsibility that each and every one of us has, not only to internalize the messages of the Torah, but to have the courage, and more importantly, the knowledge, to be able to build the next floor on what Torah is all about.

Judaism can only survive, and more importantly, can only thrive and be eternal, when we have the knowledge and the courage to build the next step, the next floor, in our relationship to God, based on Torah principles. 

A Judaism and a Torah that engages with modern challenges and makes Torah the eternal book that it continues to be.

Shabbat Shalom