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August 22, 2013 - Image 51

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2013-08-22

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>> Torah portion

SHOLEM ALEICHEM
INSTITUTE

invites you to join them at their

SECULAR HIGH HOLIDAY ASSEMBLIES
to be held at a NEW venue

Parshat Ki Tavo: Deuteronomy 26:1-
29:8; Isaiah 60:1-22.

T

he special relationship the
Jewish nation shares with
God is expressed many times
throughout the Torah.
Because a complete relationship has
many different facets, each
expression conveys a differ-
ent aspect of this deep and
full relationship.
In this week's Torah
reading, we find a most
important expression of this
relationship, but it is some-
what unclear as to exactly
which aspect of this special
relationship the Torah is
speaking about.
In Deuteronomy 26:17
we read: "You have distin-
guished God today to be your God ..."
and in the next verse, we read: "And
God has distinguished you to be His
treasured nation ..."
The word "distinguished" used in
translation is the excellent choice of
the Artscroll translators; however the
exact etymology of the word he-emarta
used in the original Hebrew is some-
what of a mystery.
Based on context and hints from
other places, Rashi concludes that it
means "singled out:' meaning that of
all the other possible gods, we singled
out HaShem to be our God. And in the
same sense, God has "singled us out"
to be His treasured nation.
The Malbim, an 18th-century com-
mentary, explains that by accepting
to do His commandments, the Jewish
nation has chosen God to be our suitor
and, in return, He has chosen us.
Unkulus (c. 35-120 C.E.), in his
Aramaic translation of the Torah, trans-
lates the word he-emarta in yet a third
way. He explains that we have made
God the one and only God in the world.
The converse of this would have to be
that God says that there is no other
nation other than the Jewish nation.
What could be the meaning of this?
It is explicit in the verses from this
week's portion. God says to us, "You have
made me the one and only God by pro-
claiming in the Shema that I am the only
God, and I respond in kind by taking
pride in the nation Israel, the one and
only nation on the Earth:' This dovetails
with the translation of Unkulus.

In what way are we the one and only
nation on the Earth?
There are different levels of oneness.
For example, what about the oneness
of a puzzle? Here, each piece of the
puzzle reveals a different
part of the picture, which
cannot be filled in by any
other piece. Each piece is
crucial to every other piece
in order to complete the
picture.
This is the metaphor for
the oneness of the Jewish
nation. Each one of us has
a unique contribution to
make that combines with
the offering of every other
Jew to form the complete
picture of the Jewish nation. Without
any piece, the picture is incomplete.
What is the picture on the box of
the puzzle that represents the Jewish
nation?
A mirror image of all the Godliness
that God wants to reveal to the world.
Each individual one of us represents
one piece of that revelation, through
the correct choices we make. Thus,
the Jewish nation in its entirety com-
prises the full spectrum of Godliness
that is capable of being revealed in
the world.
It is for this reason that we are the
only nation that is one, and therefore,
we are the nation suitable for reflect-
ing the oneness of God.
This is symbolized in the tefillin that
we wear, proclaiming the Oneness of
our mate, the only one for us, and God
does the same.
It reminds me of when two high-
school sweethearts exchanged rings. It
was a sign that you are the only one for
me. I am not looking at anyone else.
It is like a marriage in which each
spouse recognizes how his mate is the
only one for them. These are the stron-
gest marriages. This concept brings
together all the explanations of the
commentaries mentioned above.
How privileged we should feel to
have been chosen as God's mate. ❑

Rabbi Avi Cohen is director of the Jean
and Theodore Weiss Partners in Torah
program of Yeshiva Beth Yehudah in
Southfield.

The Hillel Day School Chapel

32200 Middlebelt Rd.

(Between Northwestern Hwy. and 14 Mile Rd.)

Farmington Hills

ROSH HASHANAH

THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 5TH AT 10 AM

KOL NIDRE

FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 13TH AT 8 PM

YOM KIPPUR

SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 14TH AT 10 AM

As Always No Ticket Required
Membership inquiries welcome. Call Institute Office (248) 423-4406

1855320

THE ISAAC AGREE
DOWNTOWN SYNAGOGUE

Invites the Community to Observe

DOWNTOWN
SYNACI OCI UE

THE HIGH HOLY DAYS

The Holocaust Memorial Center

28123 Orchard Lake Road, Farmington Hills, MI

(Less than a block North of the Orchard Lake Road Exit of 1-696)

A Warm, Friendly Environment.

No Admission Charge. No Tickets Required.

ROSH HASHANAH SERVICES

Wednesday Evening, September 4: Maariv
Thursday Morning, September 5
Thursday Evening, September 5: Mincha/Maariv
Friday Morning, September 6

.7:00 p.m.
8:30 a.m.
7:00 p.m.
8:30 a.m.

SHABBAT SHUVAH SERVICES

Friday Evening, September 6: Mincha/Maariv/Kabbalat Shabbat 7:00 p.m.

NOTE: Downtown at the Synagogue

Saturday Morning, September 7

9:00 a.m.

YOM KIPPUR SERVICES

Friday Evening, September 13: Kol Nidre
Saturday Morning, September 14•
Yizkor
Mincha
N'ilah
Blowing of the Shofar

12:30 p.m.
5:30 p.m.
.7:00 p.m.
8:30 p.m.

7:15 p.m.
9:30 a.m.

Questions? 313-962-4047

August 22 • 2013

51

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