Drash Cards for Devarim (5774)
by Marc Mangel
• Snippet of a movie review “Well, God wants me to be happy, right?” Rabbi: “No, Thomas Jefferson wants you to be happy”. Then it moved on.
• So what does God want for us if not to be happy? To sanctify the world. Three hints from this weeks Torah portion
• Hint #1. Ch 1, v 1: “These are the words that Moses spoke”.
• Association of Moses and words? Shmot 4:10 “Oh Lord, I am not a man of words”. But now a whole book. What is different.
• 40 years has passed, in which a record of action has turned one who was ‘not a man of words’ to one who has an entire book of words. We say “Actions speak louder than words” and there is no better example than Moses himself. We do not sanctify the world by talking about it; we sanctify the world by doing Mitzvot.
• Hint #2: Beginning Ch 1, v 16: Judge righteously. (Nehama: Judge Righteously!) Long set of rules but
• Do not favor persons; hear a small dispute equally as a large one; hear a poor person with the same respect as a rich person. The Torah is concerned that we do not pervert justice. Can we have a sanctified world that is not a just world?
• Hint #3: What to worry about. Shabbat Hazon, before Tisha B’Av. Ch1, v 12: “How (Eicha) can I bear this myself?” Lamentations begins “How (Eichas) does this city sit solitary? One that was full of people”.
• Pinchas Peli: “ How and not why is the word with which the Bible confronts catastrophe and evil. We are not to look weepingly at catastrophe and cry ‘Why did this happen to me?”. We may never find out. What is important, however, is to investigate how the evil occurred…And now that it has happened, how are we to cope with it? How are we to combat calamity, how are we to overcome and eradicate evil.
• “Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” is what Thomas Jefferson wants. “Action, justice, and eicha” are what God wants.