This week's parsha
Unless otherwise noted, "This week's Parsha" comprises articles taken from contributors to the Chabad.org website. We show the original author's name here, so that proper attribution is given. For the sake of brevity, footnotes cited in the original author's writings are omitted from this website. If you need to see the citations, please refer to the original articles on the Chabad.org website.
You Can(’t) Help Yourself!
If you look around, I am sure you could spot the life-coach who can't get his own life together; the marriage counselor whose marriage is either history or well on the way; and the parent who preaches to her children to "stop scratching and biting over blocks of Lego" while she is constantly brawling over pride and money.
It is quite obvious that many of us can help anyone but ourselves.
We have advice for our children on how to handle stress. We advise our co-workers on how to manage their time. We teach our students the value of study. And of course we educate our parents how to be parents...
The Effective Critic
The first verse of Devarim, the fifth and culminating book of the Torah, sounds prosaic. “These are the words that Moses spoke to all Israel beyond the Jordan -- in the wilderness, on the plain opposite Suph, between Paran and Tophel, Laban, Hazeroth, and Di-zahav.” There is no hint of drama in these words. But the sages of the Talmud found one, and it is life-changing.
What is odd in the verse is the last place-name: Di-zahav. What and where is this place? It hasn’t been mentioned before, nor is it mentioned again anywhere else in Tanakh. But the name is tantalizing. It seems to mean, “Enough gold.” Gold is certainly something we have heard about before. It was the metal of which the calf was made while Moses was on the mountain receiving the Torah from G‑d. This was one of the great sins of the wilderness years. Might the enigmatic mention of a place called “Enough gold” have something to do with it?
Firmness and Movement
In an ideal world we would always be moving forward, aspiring to ever higher goals. We would never rest, because we would feel that every step opens up new vistas of opportunity. The direction would always be “up.”
In fact, our lives are more complicated than that. There are many downs before the ups, and we often have to spend time and effort consolidating our position. Only when we have built some sort of firm structure as a base are we able to go forward and upwards with a measure of confidence. Nonetheless, even when we are focusing on establishing this firm structure, we are also conscious that our real direction is movement forwards and upwards.