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September 10, 1993 - Image 74

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1993-09-10

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

MIDRASHA

CENTER FOR ADULT
JEWISH LEARNING

A resource for everyone
who is on a quest for
Jewish knowledge

Midrasha offers day and evening classes, home
study groups, mini-courses, lectures, and special
adult study opportunities on subjects including
history, literature, philosophy, Hebrew, Yiddish,
prayer, classical Jewish texts, and much more.
We also work with congregations and other
Jewish organizations to design enriching lifelong
Jewish learning programs for their members.

For information about upcoming programs,
classes, and special events, call us at 354-1050.

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Midrasha Center for Adult Jewish Learning
is a division of the Agency for Jewish Education.

21550 West 12 Mile Road, Southfield (just east of Lahser)

YOU WANT IT WE'VE GOT IT!...

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Where We've Got The

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Congregational
Religious School
Youth Activities
Scouting
Family Shabbat Dinners
Kugel Kiddush
J.E.F,F.

Cie eutmaed Te Oat/

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Sithtie

Sisterhood • Men's Club
Club Chayim • Young At Heart
Chavura
Concerts • Carnivals
Las Vegas Night
Book Bites Dinner Series
Lunch & Learn • Talmud Classes
Library • Mikvah • 2 Social Halls

Start the New Year with Sftbrit„.

„ A Sweet Treat, High Holiday Tickets, Membership.

Call Phyllis Strome, Executive Director
at 352-8670

21100 W. 12 Mile Rd., Southfield

Commitment Continues
Linking Generations

RABBI IRWIN GRONER SPECIAL TO THE JEWISH NEWS

I

he sedrah of Nitzavim
describes how Moses
addressed the Hebrew
people before his
death. It is not sufficient that
he deliver this exhortation
only to their leaders or their
officers. The message must be
shared with the entire people.
"You are standing here this
day, all of you, before the
Lord, Your God . . ."
And what is the purpose of
bringing the entire people
together? "It is that thou
shouldst enter into the Cove-
nant with the Lord, Thy God,
unto His oath, which the
Lord, Thy God, maketh with
thee this day."
What great chutzpah that
this motley group of erstwhile
slaves enter into a covenant
with the Almighty. This
physically bruised and emo-
tionally scarred horde is to be
designated as am kadosh, a
holy people. The chutzpah is
even greater. The text
declares: "It is not with you
alone that I make this Cove-
nant and this oath; but with
him that standeth here with
us this day before the Lord,
Our God, and also with him
that is not here with us this
day."
Who was not there? And
how could those not present
be included in this agree-
ment?
The word for covenant or
agreement is brit. It stands
along such words as Torah,
mitzvah and tzedakah. It ex-
presses two elements: the uni-
que consciousness of the
presence of God in the lives of
the Hebrew people, and the
assumption of the fullness of
obligation that flows from
that recognition. A brit is a
mutual commitment between
Israel and God. The brit
makes Israel a priestly peo-
ple, a holy nation, for God has
called that people to His
service.
Who is this Jewish people
that ratified the covenant?
Without the verse quoted
above, we might say that
those who entered the cove-
nant were those present when
Moses called this solemn
assembly — 600,000 and
more. But the Torah declares
that the covenant bound
those who were there and
those who were not there.
Who were not there? All the

Irwin Groner is senior rabbi of

Congregation Shaarey Zedek.

generations that were to
come, all the unborn souls of
the centuries to follow were
parties to the covenant. Our
ancestors were present and
even though we live 3,000
years later, we can say that
we were there also.
There is a direct line of com-
mitment that continues un-
broken from the promise of
our ancestors to us. We march
under the same orders; we fall
under the same obligations;
we are linked by the same
promise; we are connected by
the same historical event.
Thus, the covenant defines
our relationship to each other.
In an earlier period, the story
goes, two Jews, strangers, met
on a train in Poland. One says
to the other: "I know you from

Shabbat
Nitzavim-Vayelech:
Deuteronomy
29:9-31:30
Isaiah 61:10-63:9.

somewhere. Do you come from
Minsk?" "No." "Did you ever
do business in Lodz?" "No."
"Have you ever traveled to
Crakow?" "No." "Well, we
must have met then at Mt.
Sinai."
Consider this definition of a
Jew: "A person who never
meets a fellow Jew for the
first time." We were together
somewhere, once, or our
ancestors were.
Now this notion may seem
to be an extravagance of im-
agery, an exercise in rhetoric.
But in a profound sense, it is
true. Our ideals and values
were determined by the lbrah
tradition embodied in that
Covenant.
The past is present in us.
From the Jewish point of
view, we stand before God not
as one-dimensional private
persons, but as men and
women, joined by a great
tradition. We are original
partners of that tradition.
This sense of being part of the
very beginning is both the
wonder and miracle of Jewish
existence.
Never mind that you did not
give your own word in person.
To be a Jew is to be born
under the .weight and the
glory of a sacred promise, a

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