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September 14, 1984 - Image 36

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1984-09-14

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

36

Friday, September 14, 1984 THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS

INSIGHT

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Some key words from the Torah

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BY SHELDON A. DORPH
Special to The Jewish News

879-6165

Art and Jan

Much as a gene carries critical
characteristics from one genera-
tion to another, so does the re-
peated Hebrew word or phrase
carry the eternal message of the
Biblical text. Numerous Biblical
scholars, noteworthy among them
Cassuto and Robert Alter, have
pointed to the use of these leitwor-
ter — repeated words or phrases
— in discovering the underlying
messages of the text.
This week, let us examine the
leitworter within three seemingly
unrelated consecutive Biblical
passages in order to uncover an
important underlying message:
the relationship of memory to ob-
servance and values. (These leit-
worter are italicized in the pas-
sages below.)
In the first of these passages —
Zachor Amalek — (Deuteronomy
25:17-19), the Children of Israel
are exhorted, "Remember what
Amelek did to you when you left
Egypt. Undeterred by the fear of
God, Amalek cut down the
stragglers and weak among you.
Therefore, when you receive the
inheritance God gives you, don't
forget Amalek! Blot out his mem-
ory!"
The second passage — Arami
Oved Avi — (Deuteronomy 26:1-
11) directs the Israelites: When
you arrive in the land which God
gives you as an inheritance bring
of the first fruits to the priest and
recite before God: "My father was
a lost Aramean who went down to
Egypt . . . but God brought him
out with a strong hand and great
fearful power. He brought us to a
land flowing with milk and honey.
And now, I bring the first fruits of
the land God gave me . ." And
you shall rejoice for all the good
God gave. you . . . with the Levite
and stranger who is among you.
In the third passage — Maaser
— (Deuteronomy 26:12-15), each
Israelite is directed to give a tithe
every third year of the seven year
Sabbatical cycle to the Levite,

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stranger, orphan and widow. You
are to recite before God: "I have
cleared out the consecrated por-
tion from the house and given it to
the Levite, stranger . . . I have not
forgotten . . .! I have listened to my
God's voice and done all which you
commanded me. Look down from
your consecrated abode and bless
the land you gave us -- a land
flowing with milk and honey."

The
summary
verses
(Deuteronomy 26:16-19) state
that on this day your God com-
mands you to obey these laws.
You (the people of Israel) affirm
that the Lord is your God and God
affirms that you shall be a consec-
rated people to Him.

The three passages are linked
and re-linked linguistically by
these repeating words and
phrases. The first verse of the sec-
ond passage (26:1) echoes the last
verse of the first passage (25:19)
— "the land God gives you as an
inheritance." Similarly, the first
verse of the third passage (26:12)
repeats and advances the last
verse of the second (26:11) "the
Levite and stranger in your
midst." The leitworter — "leaving
Egypt" (25:17) and "fear of God"
(25:18) — are found in both the
first and second passages (26:8).
Key words in the second passage
recite before the Lord" (26:5) and
"a land flowing with milk and
honey" (26:9) are repeated in the
third passage (26:13 and 26:15).
The summary passage (26:16-19)
re-emphasizes the Hebrew root
Amar — to declare or affirm and
echoes the root Kadosh found in
the third section (25:13).
With all this noted, what is the
underlying religious message of
this rather complex literary

structure? The first passage
exhorts us: Zachor! — Remember!
Recollect the suffering brought
upon you by Amalek. When God
fulfills His word to you, revenge
the evil done to you. Don't forget!
The second passage immediately
changes the purpose of recollec-
tion: Remember your past suffer-
ing through a public recitation of
it; Let those events become the
basis for thanksgiving to God for
the land and bounty which has
been given you. The purpose of the
historical recollection is no longer

Parashat Ki Tavo:
Deuteronomy
26:1-29:8, Isaiah
60:1-22

revenge but thanks for the bounty
of the land. The third passage
again changes and develops the
purpose of recollection. In this
passage the recollection no longer
serves as the basis for personal
thanksgiving alone; it becomes
the catalyst for remembering to
share the land's bounty with the
downtrodden of one's own people
and the stranger.
And only then can one declare
"I have not forgotten."
We are entering the season of
the Jewish year when we ask God
to remember us for good — to re-
member the covenant, to re-
member the worthiness of our
forefathers. Ki Tavo teaches us
that remembering — like every-
thing else in Judaism — is a two-
sided obligation.

Copyright 1984,
National Havurah Committee

NEWS

U.S. to lease Israeli Kfirs

Washington (JTA) — The
United States will lease from Is-
rael Kfir jet fighters to train Navi
pilots in dogfighting, the
Washington Post reported, cit-
ing as its source "Pentagon offi-
cials."
According to the paper, a con-
tract, expected to be signed by the
Navy this week, calls for the
United States to get 12 used Kfir
Cl fighters and to pay Israel Air-
craft Industries $68 million dur-
ing 31/2 years to maintain them in
this country.
The Post also disclosed that the
Navi will send pilots to Israel to be
trained on the Kfir while Israel
will send mechanics and other
specialties to the Naval air sta-
tion at Oceana, Va., to maintain
the Israeli-made jets for the 3'/2-
year period.
The number of the American
pilots to go to Israel is still unde-
cided the paper said. One proposal
calls for sending four instructor
pilots and have them train other
Navi pilots upon their return to
the U.S.
The other proposal calls for
sending an entire Navi squadron

to Israel for training, the Post
said.
According to the Post, Israel
plans to send 15 Kfir specialists to
Oceana and hire about 60-70
people for the maintenance team
in the United States.

Hospital to research
Alzheimer's disease
with new grants

New York (JTA) — Two grants
have been made by American
organizations to advance the
study of identification and treat-
ment of Alzheimer's disease at the
Jerusalem Mental Health
Center-Ezrath Nashim's De-
partment of Geriatric Research.
The American Friends of the
Jerusalem Mental Health Center
said the Herman Goldman Foun-
dation made a grant of $10,000
and the United Jewish Endow-
ment Fund of the United Jewish
Appeal Federation of Greater
Washington made a grant of
$25,000.

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