100%

Scanned image of the page. Keyboard directions: use + to zoom in, - to zoom out, arrow keys to pan inside the viewer.

Page Options

Share

Something wrong?

Something wrong with this page? Report problem.

Rights / Permissions

The University of Michigan Library provides access to these materials for educational and research purposes. These materials may be under copyright. If you decide to use any of these materials, you are responsible for making your own legal assessment and securing any necessary permission. If you have questions about the collection, please contact the Bentley Historical Library at bentley.ref@umich.edu

August 15, 2003 - Image 47

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2003-08-15

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

Torah Portion

The Administration, Board of Directors, Faculty,
Staff and Students of The Jewish Academy of
Metropolitan Detroit extends a hearty

Yasher Koach

The Trait Of Stubbornness Has
Served The Jewish Nation Well

necked people."
Why does Moses use the same phrase
to defend the people that God used to
attack them? Why does Moses, in the
context of seeking to win Gods pardon,
remind God (as it were) of this "evil" trait?
The Midrash explains. Moses chal-
e think of human traits in
lenges
God: "Do you think I use this
either-or categories: good
phrase
in
criticism of Israel? On the con-
and bad, praiseworthy and
trary,
I
use
it to praise them. This is,
condemnable.
indeed,
a
strong-willed
people, unrelent-
Humility is good; pride is bad. Anger
ing in their lust for the golden calf But
and impatience are bad; patience and tol-
days will come, in centuries yet unborn
erance are good. However, a
that this stiff-neckedness will
philosopher could argue that
have
other beneficial conse-
there are no traits that are good
quences.
and bad in and of themselves.
"In the distant future, Jews
What makes them worthy or
will
stand up unbending and
unworthy is the purpose they
unyielding despite the persecu-
serve and the goals they
tion of their enemies. They will
advance.
be
stubborn in their loyalty..
A Chasidic teacher once
resolute
in their determination;
expounded a verse of Ecclesiastes
unflagging
in their zeal to bear
that declares that "God made
witness
to
Thy
name."
everything beautiful in its time."
RABBI IRWIN
This text and commentary
"Whatever God created," the
GRONER
shed light on the distinctive
teacher explained, "is good and
Special to the
nature of Jewish history and
useful."
Jewish News
the unique character of the
His students asked, "What
Jewish
people. We are a stiff-
good is envy? Envy is an evil
necked
people
whom
neither Amalek nor
trait." The teacher responded, "Not at all,
Haman nor Torquemada nor even Hitler
for the envy of scholars, which causes
could destroy. Neither dispersion, exile,
them to compete, has a good effect in that
destruction or catastrophe could crush the
it increases wisdom."
stiff-neckedness of this people, and over-
"What good is atheism, lack of faith?"
come their resolute, obdurate will to live.
they asked.
Even after the Holocaust, Jews were
'This, too," he said, "has a purpose.
determined
to survive, endure, and
When a poor man comes to you in need,
rebuild their shattered lives in Israel and
don't offer him theology. Don't say to him:
all the countries of their dispersion.
`God will provide; our Father in heaven
The people of Israel continue the tradi-
will help you.' At that moment, become a
tion
of Am Kshay Oref They struggle
skeptic. Don't affirm the power of the
with
economic burdens, with the enmity
Creator of the Universe as an excuse to
of
their
Arab neighbors and with the
evade your responsibility. Act as if God
duplicity of the United Nations. But they
were absent, and you help Him."
will not be intimidated or frightened.
In this week's Torah portion, Moses
They will not compromise their right to
recounts the time when he was informed
security and peace. We, too, should con-
by God that the people of Israel made a
tinue without weariness or timidity to per-
golden calf. God stated: "I have seen this
severe
with tenacity and determination —
people and they are Am Kshay Oref: a
as
a
"stiff-necked
people" — to meet the
stiff-necked, a perversely stubborn people."
challenge
of
Jewish
survival and to assure
This is a severe criticism, a veritable
the future of the Jewish spirit. I
indicunent of the Hebrew people. Yet, a
little later, when Moses beseeches God to
bestow forgiveness and show compassion,
he uses the same phrase as he says, "Let
the Lord go up in our midst, for indeed
Why would God want to kill his
this is an Am Kshay Oref, this is a stiff-
children as in his order to our
ancestors to kill the Canaanites?
Irwin Groner is senior rabbi of
Is genocide one of the causes
worth fighting for?
Congregation Shaarey Zedek. His e-
mail is smarshall@shaareyzedek.org

Shabbat Ekev:
Deuteronomy 7:12-11:25;
Isaiah 49:14-51:3.

ir

Conversations

to

Steve Freedman

on his appointment as Headmaster of
Hillel Day School of Metropolitan Detroit

-

JEWISH
ACADEMY

of Metropolitan Detroit

Rabbi Lee Buckman
Head of School

Steve Schanes
President

Maim
Box

by

Susan
Fullenbaum

Tradition! Tradtion!

www.allthingsjewish.com

Call Alicia R. Nelson

for an appointment

(248) 557-0109

739040

T

GUE S

• For the Whole Family •

Fall Collection
Is Here!

100 North Old Woodward
Birmingham

248.646.4988

744610

CPLLTOOPi PAP SUBSCRIPTION

248.351.5174

8/15

2003

47

Back to Top

© 2021 Regents of the University of Michigan