Monday, September 24, 2012

Where’s your Source

Parshat Ha’azinu
D’varim 32:1 – 52
13 Tishrei 5773 / Sept. 28 - 29, 2012

Where’s your Source
by Zvi Bellin, MHHQ

 In this week’s parsha Moshe tells a story about a nation that reaches a state of such high prosperity that they ultimately become corrupt and turn away from the source of their blessing. Enough said for a powerful teaching from the Torah. Don’t you think?
This story can be seen in many different areas of bounty. The immensity of resources that the Earth has provided have been reaped to the point of depletion. Our advanced intellectual concepts of rules and regulations have been used to control and oppress. A rich global market has come to support child and abusive labor practices. Moshe definitely knew what he was talking about. And such disconnection and injustice, according to Moshe, can only breed further dis-integration.   

The nation that Moshe is talking about is named Yeshurun. And it is a lesser known nickname for Israel. They both start with the same three letters – Yud (י), Shin/Sin (ש), and Reish (ר). These are the route letters for the word forward or straight. Also upright, as in upright action, meaning moral or righteous – in line with certain values. Here is my take on the name difference. In Yisrael we are Yashar with El – Straight with G-d, or maybe the Upright of G-d. In Yeshurun we are Yashar with ?? – We have lost connection with the source of our blessing. We hold our heads up high with pride with nothing to counterbalance us towards humbleness.  

One of the main themes of Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur is remembering that G-d is king over the universe. I do not really connect with this image. To me G-d as an external ruler simply does not compute. What does speak to me though is a reminder that there is something greater than my personal limited self. This holiday season we can coronate social, global, and spiritual responsibility.


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