Miracle

Unfortunately, most people only recognize the open and obvious miracles. Indeed, even while everyone continues to be in awe of the miracle of the splitting of the sea (we all saw the movie) how many people even recall the concurrent miracle-- that the Jewish people walked on dry land! That detail seems to be virtually ignored!

This past Shabbat we read the Torah portion of Ha’azinu (Deuteronomy 32:1-52) but this Shabbat was much more significant than many others. That is because this past Shabbat was also “Shabbat Teshuva”, meaning “The Shabbat of Repentance” because it is the Shabbat between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur – a Shabbat whose entire theme is that of repentance.

Smiling

The cause of horrific curses mentioned in this week's Torah portion is not for any of the real bad sins that come to mind, but rather: “Because you did not serve your God with happiness while you had it good.”

Among the many different mitzvot discussed in Ki Teitzei is the lesser-known mitzva of “Shilu’ach Ha’ken” – sending away the mother bird. The mitzva of Shilu’ach Ha’ken goes something like this: If one happens upon a bird’s nest while the mother bird is roosting her eggs or chicks, one is required to shoo away the mother bird before one may take the eggs or chicks for oneself.

The Jews are about to complete their forty year journey and enter the Land of Israel! G-d is now giving them a choice: they can choose blessings by listening to the Torah, or can choose a cursed life if they do not obey His commandments. When G-d offers them this choice, He uses the word 'today,' indicating that it is a decision that applies to every Jew every single day. Which do you choose?

This week’s Torah portion, Korach, is named after one of the biggest trouble makers of all time. Korach started a rebellion against the leadership of Moses. Of course, Moses, being the appointed leader of God, emerged victorious, while Korach and his followers were swallowed up by an earthquake.