Parshat Devarim – What Will You Take Into the World?
Sefer Devarim opens with Moshe standing before the Israelites on the eastern side of the Jordan river, reviewing with them everything that God had spoken and all that they had experienced. In the midst of this speech, Moshe tells the Israelites “God spoke to us at Chorev, saying ‘You have stayed long enough at this mountain…’”
While much is made of this line, on the surface it seems quite simple! God goes on to tell the Israelites to turn around, cross the Jordan, and enter the land they have been promised and destined to live in. Many chassidic interpretations, however, read more into this line than its straightforward meaning: that the deeper meaning of this line is that it is not enough for us to close ourselves off and experience the Divine. After standing “at the mountain” and experiencing God and the beauty of Torah, we are meant to leave that seemingly perfect and holy environment and travel far away, to bring the light of what we have learned to faraway places. We have “stayed long enough at this mountain,” and now it’s time to move on, to share all that we have learned and all that we have become with the world. It is time to leave “[God’s] mountain” and illuminate the distant places with God’s light.
For many of us, this is our final week at Yavneh for this summer. We have soaked in the incredible atmosphere, we have learned Torah together, we have experienced vibrant, organic, dynamic Jewish life by building community with Jews we share so much in common with, but with whom we also differ greatly. We have learned and grown and changed. Now, many of us may be leaving, but we leave with a mission. We have stayed for four weeks on our own “mountain,” and now it’s time for us to take all that we have learned and share it with the world. Shabbat Shalom.
Questions for the Shabbat table:
- What is something that someone has brought home from Yavneh that you have benefited from?
- What are you bringing home from Yavneh and how will you share it with your community?