December 13, 2018 ~ Shabbat VAYIGASH. Maqam BAYAT.

Shabbat Vayelekh - שבת וילך

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ואתה תנחילנה אותם - As Moses prepares a transition to the next generation, he charges Joshua to be courageous and brave, because he will lead the nation to the Promised Land and "will divide it for them" (Deuteronomy 31:7). Another way to translate "ואתה תנחילנה אותם," is "to enable them to inherit it." In addition to being brave and keeping morale high, the role of Joshua, says Moses, is to help the people receive their inheritance. Although inheritance has an implication of entitlement, this is not the case when it comes to God's inheritance to Israel. For the Israelites, their inheritance will only be realized with much effort and hard work. The role of Joshua, or any other leader, should not be the pursuit of fame, legacy, or respect, but rather to help guide the people on the right path to allow them to achieve their goals. A good leader is someone who enables his followers become the best version of themselves. Beth Torah Bulletin, September 15, 2018.

Sukkot: Holiday of Continuity

בחג הסכות ... למען ישמעו ולמען ילמדו - The mentioning of Sukkot in Deuteronomy 31:10 is of significance at this time of year, because it reminds us what the purpose of this holiday is. In Biblical times, at the end of the Sabbatical year, Sukkot is when everyone, young and old, male and female, would gather (Haqhel) in the nation's capital for a very educational purpose. This gathering is meant to review the basic themes of the Torah (to fear God and to understand the commandments) with the next generation of Israelites. A major aspect of our tradition's survival is its successful transmission to the youth. Our teacher, Moses, designated this holiday, the happiest time of the year; at a time when the harvest has been accomplished, when the weather is most pleasant, and when everyone is dining with their families and friends in symbolic tabernacles, to focus on continuity; to teach our way of life to our descendants so that one day, they can do the same (Beth Torah 10/15/16).


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