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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 — 29:9 standing

Unity gives strength. The Midrash comments on this verse, "When are the Jewish people standing? When they are together ("all of you"). Even a young child can break a single reed. But a bunch of reeds together is strong and cannot be broken. The Midrash continues: The Jewish people will not be redeemed until they are a unified group." (Yalkut Shimoni)

DEUTERONOMY — 29:13 alone

As in other Western religions, for Judaism G-d is central not only to defining the good and the right, but also to creating the moral person. G-d does that in several ways. First, acting in G-d's judicial and executive functions, G-d helps to ensure that people will do the right thing. G-d is the infallible Judge for He knows "the secrets of the world," as the High Holy Day liturgy reminds us. Nothing can be hidden from G-d, and G-d cannot be deceived. Moreover, G-d holds the power of ultimate reward and punishment. To do the right thing just to avoid punishment or to gain reward is clearly not acting out of a high moral motive, but such actions may nevertheless produce good results. Moreover, the Rabbis state many times over that even doing the right thing for the wrong reason has its merit, for eventually correct moral habits may create a moral person who does the right thing for the right reason. (B. Pesachim 50b; B. Sanhedrin 105a; B. Arakhin 16b; B. Sotah 22b, 47a; B. Horayot 10b; B. Nazir 23b.) G-d also contributes to the creation of moral character in serving as a model for us. The underlying conviction of the Bible is that G-d is good, and G-d's actions are, as such, paradigms for us. The Bible itself raises questions about G-d's morality, for there are times when G-d appears to act arbitrarily and even cruelly; but for all that, Jewish texts trust that G-d is good. We, then, should aspire to be like G-d: "As G-d clothes the naked ... so you should clothe the naked" [etc.] (B. Sotah 14a). (Continued at Deuteronomy 25:13 not with us DORFFLOV 321-1).

DEUTERONOMY — 29:22 devastated

"And if I am for myself, what am I?" [Avos 1:4]. Even when I am for myself, trying with all my might to right my soul, and constantly contemplating wisdom--what am I? For man's reach is limited and lacking. Through effort and improvement he can still only achieve a small degree of virtue. [As such,] see who I am and what my life is [worth] when I am not for myself--[refusing] to make the effort and bother to mend my soul. [Man] is comparable to a field possessing poor soil; with all the effort to improve it and with all the toil in cultivating it, the field will [still] produce [only] a small amount of grain. Yet, if no effort is put into its improvement, it will not sprout or raise up any sort of vegetation; only thorns and thistles will grow. [This verse, Bereishis 3:18].

DEUTERONOMY — 29:28 hidden

One must do all for the sake of the Almighty, Who looks into one's heart as it is written (Yirmeyahu 17:10): "I am Hashem, who searches the heart and examines the innards," and [this verse]: "The hidden things are [known] to Hashem our G-d." Therefore, let the proud man know that if he does not take care with wisdom and zeal to rescue himself from pride, though he may possess Torah and good deeds, he inherits Gehinnom. For the evil inclination lies in ambush for him and brings arguments and rationalizations to lead him to pride in order to drive him from the world. Therefore, one must not be slack in conquering the evil inclination every day.

DEUTERONOMY — 29:28 overt

When lifetime reaches its appointed end, it is reviewed, evaluated, assessed. And the spiritual being that has shared his body to enter the realm beyond, is held accountable and responsible for everything. In the presence of the Almighty, answer must be made for things done or not done. ... How do you prepare? ... To this agonizing question our Sages have one fundamental approach: "If there is no judgment below, there is judgment above" (Midrash Rabbah, Deuteronomy v 4; Tanhuma, Mishpatim 5); but "whenever there is judgment [below] there will be none [above]" (Midrash Rabbah, Genesis xxvi 6). Heaven's sentence for our misdeed and iniquity, the only alternative – and the better alternative--is to undergo judgment below, in our earthly existence; at whose hands?--Our own. If we judge ourselves fairly and honestly, there will be no need for a Heaven to do so. Once a debt is paid, it ceases to exist. But our self-judgment must be worthy [of] the name: it must be really fair and truthful. And it must be carried out. A French proverb runs, Qui s'excuse, s'accuse: whoever makes excuses for himself, accuses himself. (Gabriel Meurier, Tresor des Sentences (c. 1575) p. 63). The honest way of self-judgment is to see that we make payment in full, insofar as we can, for every wrong committed. Did you insult someone? Ask his forgiveness. Did you unjustly withhold another's money? See that he receives it without delay. Did you fail to give as much tz'dakah, charity to good causes, as you could have and should have? Henceforth give your share. Have you failed to visit the sick to bring them cheer? To visit mourners to bring them solace? Hereafter overcome your inertia and reluctance, and make these visits. The goal to achieve is t'shuvah, a word translated as repentance, which actually means return. Pass judgment on yourself, and carry it out with integrity, so that you return to your original state of merit. Let your slate be wiped clean; return, become again the person you were before you incurred guilt. But above all, start at once. Now is the time to right the wrongs you have committed, to seek forgiveness from the people you have hurt, to make restitution while you can. In the grave it is too late. The objection could be raised, though, that human memory is rather short, especially where it concerns one's own self. Perhaps we can recall relatively few of our past mistakes and shortcomings. What then? Let us bear in mind the eloquent words of Moses our Master: "The hidden things are for L-rd our G-d, and the overt, apparent things are for us…" [this verse]. Our task is to undergo judgment at our hands for those bad deeds of which we know; the rest we can safely leave to Heaven.

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