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"For Instruction shall come forth from Zion, The word of the L-rd from Jerusalem." -- Isaiah 2:3


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DEUTERONOMY — 1:4 after

Rebuke is most effective when it can be received as being sincere. The Torah emphasizes that Moshe rebuked the Jewish people after he had smitten Sichon and Og. Moses reasoned, "If I rebuke them before they enter at least part of the land, they will say, 'What does this man have against us? What good did he do for us? He has only come to vex us to find a pretext since he doesn't have the power to bring us into land." Therefore, Moshe waited until he had conquered Sichon and Og, and then rebuked the people. (Sifre, cited by Rashi). Had the people felt that Moshe's rebuke was insincere and that he had ulterior motives, his words would have been ineffective. A person will only accept review if he feels that the rebuker has his best interest in mind. We also see from here that timing is a major factor in rebuke. In many instances by waiting for an opportune time to deliver admonition a person will be more successful than he would have been had he admonished earlier.

DEUTERONOMY — 1:11 bless

In his last address to Israel, Moses refers to the fulfillment of the blessing which has multiplied Israel like the stars of the heaven, to which the lawgiver adds his own benediction: "May the L-rd, the G-d of your fathers, increase your numbers a thousandfold, and bless you as He promised you" [this verse]. The reward of obedience to the commandments of G-d would be prevention of miscarriage (Exodus 23:26). G-d will multiply Israel, so that there will be no barren one among them, neither male nor female (Deuteronomy 7:13-14; 28:4; Cf. Lev. 26:9) The reverse will happen if G-d's commandments will be disregarded: "You shall be left few in number, after having been as numerous as the stars in heaven." (Deut. 28:62; Cf. Lev 26:22). The great blessing, then, for the human species is fertility--not because more hands were needed to operate farms or to engage in defense. That the blessing of fertility included all animate beings (particularly those whose usefulness to man is less obvious) precludes its having a utilitarian purpose. The first chapter of Genesis does not conceive of the blessing of fertility as associated with labor, aggression, or defense. In this Chapter, G-d has designated grass and fruit-trees to serve as food for both men and animals. The hard labor to which man was subjected and the need for many hands to assist him in his back-breaking work was not contemplated in the original plan of creation. Genesis pictures a pacific world in which there is no conflict between man and man or between man and other creatures. Neither does it envision Internecine warfare within the animal kingdom (Cf. Nachmanides, Gen. 1:29; Bahya, ibid.; Cf. also Nachmanides to Lev. 26:4.) The blessing of fertility would appear to have emanated from the great delight experienced by G-d in creating the world and its inhabitants. "May the glory of L-rd endure forever; let the L-rd rejoice in His works." (Ps. 104:31).

DEUTERONOMY — 1:13 leaders

[A position of] authority is nothing less than a great burden mounted on the shoulders of the one who is carrying it. As long as one is [merely] an individual living among his people and mingling with [other] individuals, he is only responsible for himself [his own deeds]. Yet once he is raised to [a position of] authority and power, he becomes responsible for everyone who is under his rule and dominion, because it is his duty to oversee all of them – to guide them toward knowledge and understanding and to steer their deeds [along the] right [path]. But if [that ideal is] not [achieved], the Sages apply the words ואשמם בראשיכם -- "And their guilt is on your heads" (Devarim Rabbah 1:10). [This phrase derives from [this verse], ואשימם בראשיכם - "And [I] appointed them [as] your leaders over you." As for honor, it is no more than the greatest of vanities, leading a person away from himself and from his Master and causing him to totally disregard his duty. One who is cognizant of this will surely spurn and despise it. And the praises that people give him will weigh heavily upon him, for when he sees how they amplify their praises for what in reality he does not possess, he will feel only shame and will sigh over the fact that he not only has to contend with his own misfortune (his lack of these virtues) but also with the false praise that people heap upon him, which further adds to his shame.

DEUTERONOMY — 1:16 fairly

At beginning of Deuteronomy, Moses reviews the history of the Israelites' experience in the wilderness, beginning with the appointment of leaders throughout the people, heads of thousands, hundreds, fifties, and tens. He continues: [this and following verse]. Thus at the outset of the book in which he summarized the entire history of Israel and its destiny as a holy people, he already gave priority to the administration of justice, something he would memorably summarize in a later chapter (Deuteronomy 16:20) with the words, "Justice, justice, shall you pursue." The words for justice, tzedek and mishpat, are recurring themes of the book. The root TZ-D-K appears eighteen times in Deuteronomy; the root SH-F-T forty-eight times. Justice has seemed, throughout the generations, to lie at the beating heart of the Jewish faith. ... Three features mark Judaism as a distinctive faith. First is the radical idea that when G-d reveals Himself to humans He does so in the form of law. In the ancient world, G-d was power. In Judaism, G-d is order, and order presupposes law. In the natural world of cause-and-effect, order takes the form of scientific law. But in the human world, where we have free will, order takes the form of moral law.… Second, we are charged with being interpreters of the law. That is our responsibility as heirs and guardians of the Torah Shebe'al Peh, the Oral Tradition.… Third, fundamental to Judaism is education, and fundamental to education is instruction in Torah, that is, the law. ... To be a Jewish child is to be, in the British phrase, "learned in the law." We are a nation of constitutional lawyers. Why? Because Judaism is not just about spirituality. It is not simply a code for the salvation of the soul. It is a set of instructions for the creation of what the late Rabbi Aharon Liechtenstein called "societal beatitude." It is about bringing G-d into the shared spaces of our collective life. That needs law: law that represents justice, honouring all humans alike regardless of colour or class; law that judges impartially between rich and poor, powerful and powerless, even in extremis between humanity and G-d; law that links G-d, its giver, to us, its interpreters; law that alone allows freedom to coexist with order, so that my freedom is not bought at the cost of yours. Small wonder, then, that there are so many Jewish lawyers.

DEUTERONOMY — 1:16 hear

R. Chanina said: This is an exhortation to the beth-din not to hear the claim of one litigant before the arrival of the other, and an exhortation to one litigant not to present his claim to the judge before the arrival of the other. Whence is this derived? From its [shma] "shamea" [being, likewise, pronounceable as "shamea" ["to make heard," as well as "shamoa" ("to hear")] between your brothers (Sanhedrin 7b)

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