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August 05, 1994 - Image 30

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1994-08-05

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

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Isvt,

4 *It-4'.

THE DETRO IT J EWIS H NEWS

lhe Torah portion for this
Sabbath, Re'e, and the cor-
responding Haftorah are
taken from the prophet Isa-
iah, Chapter 54. As many of us
are aware, one of the most sig-
nificant dates in Jewish history
is Tisha B'Av - the Hebrew date
on which both of our Temples
were destroyed.
For seven weeks after this
date, our rabbis have instructed
us to read as our Haftorah after
the weekly Torah portion, se-
lected portions from the prophet
Isaiah. These are called the sev-
en weeks of consolation.
In this week's reading, we
come across a verse which states
"And all your children shall be
disciples of God and your chil-
dren's peace shall increase." The
Talmud in Beracot tells us not to
read it as "bawnayich" your
sons, but rather "bonayich" your
builders. The Talmud goes on to
interpret this to mean that
"Torah scholars increase peace in
the world; "It is your disciples
who will be your builders."
We can, perhaps, understand
the meaning of this message by
analyzing two apparently de-
tached statements made by our
sages. The Talmud poses the
question, "Why was our Temple
destroyed?" One answer is that
sinas chinom baseless hatred
— was the cause. The other re-
sponse attributes the destruction
to the fact that the Jews of that
era did not recite the blessing pri-
or to engaging in Torah study.
What is the theme that connects
these seemingly diverse concepts?
Throughout the ages, we have
been known as "the people of the
book" because our our learning
defines us as a nation. When we,
as a people, can appreciate the
beauty of God's Torah and the in-
finite wisdom of His laws, we can
achieve the objective set forth for
us to be a beacon amongst the na-
tions. We are able to teach oth-
ers to seek truth and justice. We
become capable of leading the
whole world to herald the days
when "God will be king over the
whole world, on that day God will
be one and His name will be one."
This appreciation of learning
is best demonstrated by reciting
a blessing over Torah study to
show how dear it is to us. Con-
versely, when we do not recite
this blessing, we demonstrate
that, though we may learn, we do
not really attach much impor-

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tance to study. This lack of focus
eventually leads us to the pursuit
of trivial matters, which invari-
ably leads to petty arguments
and "senseless hatred," and ulti-
mately to destruction.
This is what our rabbis are try-
ing to convey to us when they tell
us that 'Torah scholars increase
peace in the world." They beck-
on us to explore the world of
knowledge, seek truth, discuss
ideas, debate the meanings of our
sages. It is only through our hon-
est commitment to understand-
ing our heritage that we can
achieve true peace.
As we observe the world
around us, we have many con-
cerns. As citizens of the world we

Shabbat Re'e:
Deuteronomy
11:26-16:17
Isaiah 49:14-51:3.

note the steady decay of society
along with its accompanying in-
crease in violence and can't help
but share the fears of our fellow
citizens. We fear for our own
safety and security, as well as
that of our children. We wonder
what kind of world we are leav-
ing them.
As Jews we share a constant
concern as we worry about the fu-
ture of both our country, Israel,
and our brothers and sisters who
live there. We observe the cur-
rent negotiations and our concern
mounts. For who can really pre-
diet what the outcome of all these
efforts will be? Perhaps we can
take to heart the message our
rabbis are trying to tell us: Be-
come true disciples of God, and
He will take care of our concerns.
Fortunately we are experienc-
ing an amazing proliferation of
study groups and classes in the
Jewish world today. Thousands
of people have become interest-
ed in discovering their heritage
and learning more about their re-
ligion. One may walk into a
lawyer's office in the middle of the
day for a "lunch and learn" ses-
sion, or one may escape for two
weeks to a Torah retreat. For
every level of commitment or
knowledge, one can find a shiur
- or class - on a variety of topics.
The consolation theme of this
week's Haftorah is Torah study.
Let us hope and pray that
through our renewed commit-

)

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