Sunday, January 19, 2014

Deuteronomy 8: Multiform Unity

Netzavim/Standing/Vayeilekh/And Went (Double portion: Deuteronomy 29:10-30:20, 31:1-30)

You are standing today, all of you, before God your Lord – your leaders, your tribal chiefs, your elders, and your officers, all men of Israel, your children, your women, and your proselyte who is in the midst of your camp, from your wood cutters to your drawers of water. (Deuteronomy 29:9-10) 

Why does Moses detail different types of Jews when the phrase "all of you" already encompasses them all?
The Lubavitcher Rebbe teaches that the unity of Israel is created not by every Jew being the same, but by each Jew being himself. 

"Israel is one before G-d when, and only when, each Jew fulfills the mission which is his alone."
Days of Teshuvah following Rosh Hashanah are days of "return" rather than "repentance."  They are a time to return to one's essential self.

The beloved Reb Zusia, an early leader of Hassidism, expressed his fear of appearing before the Almighty at the end of his days.

I am not afraid to be asked: “Reb Zusia, why have you not been like Abraham, the patriarch, or like Moses, our great teacher?”
The question I truly fear is: “Reb Zusia, have you truly been Reb Zusia?"

We watched the President Shimon Peres awarding the Wolf Prize standing below Moses woven into Chagall's grand tapestry at the Knesset.
Since Mel was appointed to the Wolf Foundation Council by Israel’s president, we participate in the Knesset ceremony each year.

On Pesach, we enjoyed the fervent singing of Mordechai Ben-David, the elder statesman of Jewish performers.
Our pitcher son Ari and Ken Holtzman coach a Petah Tikvah Pioneers batter. The roles of the players complement each other to create a team.
Playing together, our grandchildren Razel, Meitav, Elianne and Tagel, express their wonderfully different personalities

We marveled at dog trainers working at the Israel Guide Dog Center for the Blind.  A tractor driver passed us as we ate at a sidewalk cafĂ©.
The Jewish people is not formed through a static unity of the uniform, but through the great dynamic unity of the multiform. (Martin Buber)