Vaetchanan

When the Torah was first given, the people were impassioned. They cry: “We will do and we will hear!” Rarely in our lives do we have the fiery clarity and absolute faith necessary to declare such things. When the story is retold, though, the people are hesitant, the verbs reversed. They tell Moses “You go closer… tell us what God tells you, we will hear and we will do.” This version reflects the more common situation of fear and doubt. The truth isn’t obvious, inspiration seems far-off. We search for leaders, whom we might then reject; we fear the same fierce confidence we desire. Yet God responds “May their hearts always be so!” Very little comes of being absolutely sure.

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[Inspired by: Deuteronomy 5 and Exodus 24; Mei Hashiloach on VayeraLes Illuminations by Arthur Rimbaud; and Joseph Turner’s The Morning after the Deluge, etc. ]

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