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Standing in the Doorway

09/13/2021 04:35:51 PM


Beth Schafer

I have had the good fortune of sending two daughters to college. The freshman year drop-off/move-in is an exciting time for the kids, a more mixed-emotion moment for the parents. We stand in the doorway of their dorm rooms, a door not just to a place that will become their physical home, but a doorway to their futures that we as parents will not be a part of every day. Although I had 18 years to impart as much wisdom as I could, to share as many life lessons as I had learned with my beloved kiddos, somehow, standing in that doorway before a teary goodbye, I felt the urge to repeat as many of those 18 years of lessons as I could. With the door almost slamming in my face as I uttered, “always wear clean underwear,” the moment of separation happened. My kids began a new chapter. I had to let them go. God-willing, they would remember the important stuff and recover from the mistakes they will inevitably make.

And so it is with the Jewish people this week in the Torah. Moses and the Israelites stand at the doorway to the Promised Land. Just before he dies and the Israelites go into the land without him, he repeats God’s greatest teachings in a final, epic sermon. Basically, the sermon can be distilled down to three statements. Moses says to us: Adonai is our (only) God, do God’s commandments (as listed in the Torah) to fulfill our part of the covenant first made by our ancestors in the book of Genesis, and, when faced with the choice of Goodness and Life or Evil and death, choose life.

As we approach the end of our annual cycle of reading Torah in this powerful, dramatic moment, may we aspire to fulfill these charges. Surely, if we do, we will make our parents and teachers proud and confident that we are ready to go out on our own.

Wed, December 1 2021 27 Kislev 5782