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Parshat Va’etchanan: When less is more

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“It was not with our fathers that the Lord made this covenant, but with us, the living, every one of us who is here today” (Devarim 5:3).

The summer after I graduated high school, a long time ago now in 1993, was the summer of Lollapalooza. Music was at the center of my life, both playing it and listening to it, and my excitement for the music festival of the year in Orlando was off the charts.

I was not disappointed. The volume and intensity of the music, the amount of people, the energy, the lights; it was all intoxicating. The fact that over 100,000 people were all experiencing this together as one huddled mass made it all the more electric. The day was so impactful that I walked away a different person than I had entered.

So lehavdil, when Moshe tries to capture the experience of the revelation at Mt. Sinai, the only thing I have in my own set of experiences to compare it with in any way is Lollapalooza. The energy, the awe, the power, the fire and smoke that emanated from the mountain, and then of course, the voice. The voice of the Divine. The imprint of that experience, the meeting of the human and the Divine en mass, must have penetrated their very being.

But what about the next generation? What about the children who were there, or those who never even experienced it? Were their parents able to articulate the experience for them? Did the story of the parents’ experience penetrate the hearts of their children to their core?

Seemingly the answer is no; telling the story of a life-altering event, though moving for the listener, is not the same as experiencing the event itself. So before Moshe passes on the reins of leadership, he gives the nation a........

© The Times of Israel (Blogs)

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