Today’s guest blogger is Moshe himself. In this age of instant satisfaction, highlighted by TV and the Internet, a lot of people don’t have the patience to read the Torah portion each week, so here’s a condensed version of the beginning of the Book of Devarim.
After reading these verses, if anyone still has doubts where Hashem wants the Jewish People to live, he should print out 100 copies, crumple them up and eat them, as if they were giant popcorn kernels of holiness from the Land of Israel. Please chew them well, so that their vapors will rise up to your brains.
"The Lord our God spoke to us in Horeb, saying, 'You have dwelt long enough at this mountain. Turn and journey, and come to the mountain of the Amorites and to all its neighboring places, in the plain, on the mountain, and in the lowland, and in the south and by the seashore, the land of the Canaanites, and the Lebanon, until the great river, the Euphrates River.
See, I have set the land before you; come and possess the land which the Lord swore to your forefathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give them and their descendants after them.
Behold, the Lord, your God, has set the land before you; go up and possess it, as the Lord, God of your fathers has spoken to you; you shall neither fear nor be dismayed.
Behold, I have taught you statutes and ordinances, as the Lord, my God, commanded me, to do so in the midst of the land to which you are coming to possess.
And the Lord was angry with me because of you, and He swore that I would not cross the Jordan and that I would not come into the good land the Lord, your God, is giving you as an inheritance.
For I will die in this land; I will not cross the Jordan. You, however, will cross, and you will possess this good land.
And you shall observe His statutes and His commandments, which I command you this day, that it may be well with you and your children after you, and that you may prolong your days upon the land which the Lord your God gives you forever.
In all the way which the Lord, your God, has commanded you, you shall go, in order that you may live and that it may be well with you, and so that you may prolong your days in the land you will possess.
And you shall, [therefore,] hearken, O Israel, and be sure to perform, so that it will be good for you, and so that you may increase exceedingly, just as the Lord, the God of your fathers, spoke to you, a land flowing with milk and honey.
And you shall do what is proper and good in the eyes of the Lord, in order that it may be well with you, and that you may come and possess the good land which the Lord swore to your forefathers, to drive out all your enemies from before you, as the Lord has spoken.
And the Lord gave signs and wonders, great and terrible, upon Egypt, upon Pharaoh, and upon all his household, before our eyes. And he brought us out of there, in order that He might bring us and give us the land which He swore to our fathers.
You shall therefore, observe the commandments, the statutes, and the ordinances, which I command you this day to do. And it will be, because you will heed these ordinances and keep them and perform, that the Lord, your God, will keep for you the covenant and the kindness that He swore to your forefathers. And He will love you and bless you and multiply you; He will bless the fruit of your womb and the fruit of your soil, your grain, your wine, and your oil, the offspring of your cattle and the choice of your flocks, in the land which He swore to your forefathers to give you.
Every commandment that I command you this day you shall keep to do, that you may live and multiply, and come and possess the land that the Lord swore to your forefathers.
For the Lord your God is bringing you to a good land, a land with brooks of water, fountains and depths, that emerge in valleys and mountains, a land of wheat and barley, vines and figs and pomegranates, a land of oil producing olives and honey, a land in which you will eat bread without scarcity, you will lack nothing in it, a land whose stones are iron, and out of whose mountains you will hew copper.
And you will eat and be sated, and you shall bless the Lord, your God, for the good land He has given you.”
This last verse is the basis of “Berkat HaMazone,” the blessing of thanks which we recite after eaten meals with bread. When we thank G-d for the land, the Torah isn’t referring to America, or Australia, or England. We thank G-d for giving us the Land of Israel. Because that is our one and only Land, and that’s where Hashem expects us to be.
So enjoy your popcorn. Remember, my dear Diaspora brothers, print out 100 copies, crumple the up and eat them. Digest Moshe’s teachings well. That should keep even Mike quiet for a couple of days.
Time Capsules of Holiness
(Thanks to the Chabad.org library for its online translation.)