Sunday, July 22, 2012

The 40 Year Challenge



Parashat Devarim in the Book of Deuteronomy places us at the border of the Land of Promise after a lifetime of journeying.  We stop and pause now, and look at the path that we have traveled, to understand just how far we have come. We embrace the wisdom and love that we have received through hard work and diligent practice. What a blessing it is to have reached this place.
40 years of challenges.
40 years of defeats, as well as victories.
The challenge of Parashat Devarim is to remember these times, learn from these experiences, and turn them into life-long-learning lessons.
Parashat Devarim, the Book of Words, is also known as Moses’ Farewell Address to the Jewish people. 

There he was, standing on the border of the Promised Land, and also, standing on the border between life and death.  Now, at the end of this incredible life, he recounts the significance of his leadership, and he challenges the Jewish people with their continued dedication to Torah and to God.
Moses’ review of the Israelites’ experience – the nation’s lifetime thus far! – is a combination life review and ethical will. Moses doesn’t merely recount the past; he reflects upon it and offers both wisdom and warning for the future. His experience--guiding Israel out of Egypt and through the Wilderness-- lays the groundwork for his ethical will to the Jewish people.
Moses taught us that commitment to each other is paramount. He worked against the injustices that he saw, and he made sure to create a framework in which his descendants could continue to work.

  Journeys through the wilderness don’t necessarily take us in a straight line.  It might take longer than expected to get us to the destination. But, once we arrive, survey the path you’ve taken and remember the path, so that you can look within and see how you’ve been shaped by the experience. Those experiences affect us and also motivate us to enter the Promised Land that is before us.

Parashat Devarim in the Book of Deuteronomy places us at the border of the Land of Promise after a lifetime of journeying.  We stop and pause now, and look at the path that we have traveled, to understand just how far we have come. We embrace the wisdom and love that we have received through hard work and diligent practice. What a blessing it is to have reached this place.
40 years of challenges.
40 years of defeats, as well as victories.
The challenge of Parashat Devarim is to remember these times, learn from these experiences, and turn them into life-long-learning lessons.
Parashat Devarim, the Book of Words, is also known as Moses’ Farewell Address to the Jewish people.
There he was, standing on the border of the Promised Land, and also, standing on the border between life and death.  Now, at the end of this incredible life, he recounts the significance of his leadership, and he challenges the Jewish people with their continued dedication to Torah and to God.
Moses’ review of the Israelites’ experience – the nation’s lifetime thus far! – is a combination life review and ethical will. Moses doesn’t merely recount the past; he reflects upon it and offers both wisdom and warning for the future. His experience--guiding Israel out of Egypt and through the Wilderness-- lays the groundwork for his ethical will to the Jewish people.
Moses taught us that commitment to each other is paramount. He worked against the injustices that he saw, and he made sure to create a framework in which his descendants could continue to work. Journeys through the wilderness don't necessarily take us in a straight line.  It might take longer than expected to get us to our destination, but once we arrive, we should survey the path we've taken so that we can look within and see how we've been shaped by the experience.  Those experiences affect us, and hopefully will motivate us to embrace the Promised Land that is before us.

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