Torah.org Home Subscribe Services Support Us
 
Print Version

Email this article to a friend

Parshas Ki Savo

The Today Show

Volume 2 Issue 46

by Rabbi Mordechai Kamenetzky

THE TODAY SHOW

Today. It's a powerful word. It is used by doctors to define the exact moment their patients are to stop over-indulging, smoking, and drinking. It is used by account receivables to exact when they want their bills paid. Most importantly, it used by the Torah in describing what it wants from our attitudes.

This week the Torah portion tells us, Deuteronomy: 26:16: "Today Hashem commands you to perform these decrees and statutes." There is obviously a deeper connotation. The commandments were not given on the day that Moshe is reading this week's portion. They were given forty years prior. Rashi quotes the Midrash Tanchuma: "Every day the Torah should appear to us as if it were given today." Thus, forty years later Moshe commands his people that today Hashem commanded us to observe the Torah.

With that beautiful interpretation of "today," in mind, I would like to shed a new perspective on a verse at the very end of this week's portion.

Moshe calls the nation together and reminds them of the miraculous events that transpired during the exodus from Egypt. He discusses (Deuteronomy 29:1-3), "the great wonders, signs, and miracles that your eyes beheld." Then he adds something shocking. "But Hashem did not give you a heart to understand or eyes to see until today."

What can the word "today" mean in this context? Did the Jewish nation not have the heart to appreciate the value of splitting the Red Sea forty years back? Did they not revel in the miracle of Manna from its first earthly descent decades previously? How can Moshe say that they did not have eyes to understand until today?

Rav Chaim Shmulevitz once gave an ethical discourse on inspiration and outcome. He told the story of three friends who were discussing the diligence of Talmudic sages of yesteryear. Upon hearing of the of one particular Gaon's remarkable achievements derived through tremendous constancy and unrelenting Torah study, one of the boys ran straight from the table to the Bais Medrash (Study Hall) where he began a marathon of Talmudic learning. For one year the young man refused to speak anything but Torah. He eventually became one of the leaders of his generation.

After the eloquent story, one of Rabbi Shmuelevitz's students asked him, "I think the story was amazing. But the boy who ran from the table forgot to bentsch (say grace after meals)!"

Rav Chaim smiled at the pointed question. Then he nodded. "You are right. He did not bentsch. But had he stopped to recite the grace after meals along with its required preparations, he would never have returned to the Bais Medrash with the same enthusiasm."

Perhaps Moshe is telling his nation the secret of eternal inspiration. One may experience miraculous events. He may even have the vision of a lifetime. However he "will not have the heart to understand or the eyes to see" until that vision is today. Unless the inspiration lives with him daily, as it did upon the moment of impact.

Whether tragedy or blessing, too often an impact becomes as dull as the movement of time itself. The promises, pledges, and commitments begin to travel slowly, hand-in-hand down a memory lane paved with long-forgotten inspiration.

This week Moshe tells us that even after experiencing a most memorable wonder, we still may, "not have the heart to discern nor the eyes to see." Until we add one major ingredient. Today.

Dedicated by Gisele & Ira Beer in memory of Gisa Meyers

Good Shabbos

Mordechai Kamenetzky - Yeshiva of South Shore

Text Copyright © 1996 by Rabbi M. Kamenetzky and Project Genesis, Inc.

The author is the Associate Dean of the Yeshiva of South Shore.

Drasha is the e-mail edition of FaxHomily, a weekly torah facsimile on the weekly portion
which is sponsored by The Henry and Myrtle Hirsch Foundation


 

ARTICLES ON KI SAVO AND ELUL / ROSH HASHANAH:

View Complete List

Gratitude -- A Key Torah Principle
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5771

The Importance of Simcha
Rabbi Yosef Kalatzky - 5762

To Hear and To See
Rabbi Aron Tendler - 5765

> Teshuva and Rebi Elazar ben Dordai
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5773

Of Fashions and Foods
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5759

Tatooed With Faith
Rabbi Naftali Reich - 5772

Frumster - Orthodox Jewish Dating

Repentance and Changing History
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5759

The Art of the Deal and It's Impact
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5758

All that We Have is From Hashem
Rabbi Yisroel Ciner - 5760

ArtScroll

Framed Symbols: Part I
Rabbi Aron Tendler - 5764

Yehi Ratzon - Text and Instructions
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5760

Humility and Fruit
Shlomo Katz - 5765

Looking for a Chavrusah?

Plotting Our Course for the Coming Year
Rabbi Pinchas Avruch - 5761

One Man's Curse - Another Man's Blessing
Rabbi Eliyahu Hoffmann - 5761

First Impressions
Rabbi Mordechai Kamenetzky - 5761

A Breath of Air
Rabbi Naftali Reich - 5769



Project Genesis

Torah.org Home


Torah Portion

Jewish Law

Ethics

Texts

Learn the Basics

Seasons

Features

TORAHAUDIO

Ask The Rabbi

Knowledge Base




Help

About Us

Contact Us



Free Book on Geulah!




Torah.org Home
Torah.org HomeCapalon.com Copyright Information