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		                                    Word Of Torah		                                </span>

Word of Torah

Written by: Jason Schnissel

Parasha Nitzavim-Vayeilech

A favorite line of Torah? Sure, many of us have a favorite sports team, favorite food or favorite color but a favorite line of Torah? I must admit, I do. My (current) favorite line of Torah comes from the first half of this week’s double portion Nitzavim-Vayeilech. The line is as follows:
Surely, this Instruction which I enjoin upon you this day is not too baffling for you, nor is it beyond reach. It is not in the heavens, that you should say, “Who among us can go up to the heavens and get it for us and impart it to us, that we may observe it?” Neither is it beyond the sea, that you should say, “Who Among us can cross to the other side of the sea and get it for us and impart it to us, that we may observe it?” No, the thing is very close to you, in your mouth and in your heart, to observe it.
  • Deuteronomy 30:11-14
Firstly, I must address that the English translation of this verse does not due it justice. The original Hebrew, the prose, is exquisite. The natural flow of the Hebrew complements the message. The ease of the language suggests that Gods commandments are not difficult to follow, that they are truly part of each one of us.
As modern Reform Jews, I believe that each one of us struggles, to some degree, with the commandments. Many of us choose which commandments we observe and which we disregard. While some denominations of Judaism may judge this practice harshly, I would argue that the phrase referenced above is another version of Shakespeare’s “to thine own self be true.” That is, follow the commandments that align with your heart. If a commandment doesn’t jive, that’s okay.  
Coincidently, this section is also ready on Yom Kippur. Also coincidently, it will be chanted by my wife, Jodi. So if you’d really like to get a feel of the true power of this, my favorite line of Torah, be sure to catch out Yom Kippur morning services. You won’t even need to leave the house!



Mon, September 21 2020 3 Tishrei 5781