This week’s combined Torah portions of Mattot and Masei lead us to the Promised Land, but not before God has us recount our journeys and prior stops along the way during the previous 40 years. Our sages tell us that our history is who we are and forgetting it will be our ruin. Our history is what grounds us and gives us our values. Throughout our history and as we recall in the Haggadah, in each generation some power arises to try and destroy the Jewish people. Fortunately, it has been God’s will that the evil power is ultimately destroyed, but not necessarily without cost. We remember the inflictions of the Holocaust with a freshness that is fast fading, but have we forgotten that the State of Israel is always under threat from its neighbors and that Iran and its proxies boast of the destruction of Israel as a goal? Truly, some of the memories of the Jewish past are painful, but we are admonished to vividly recall them and not blithely assume that others will not do us harm in the misbegotten belief that society has advanced beyond the Neanderthal days of the 1940’s (except for Cambodia, Bosnia, Rwanda, Darfur, etc.). Our Torah and tradition tells us to always remember our past at the peril of our future. We are to do that in our personal lives and in our spirit of the oneness of Clal Yisrael. Am Yisrael Chai if we remember, if we teach our children and if we act with a unity of spirit to protect Israel and the future of our people. What do you do to remember our past? What do you do to insure our future?
This Shabbat, God will feel our spirituality emanating from the Shiffman Chapel where our Rabbis will also be teaching Torah between the aliyot in the Torah reading. The Torah reading gets under way at approximately 10:00 a.m.
Chodesh tov and Shabbat Shalom,