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.
The Origins of Jewish Music
A distraught Jew visited the Rebbe and complained that his children were assimilating. “What have I done wrong? Why have they strayed from the path I taught them? Ay,” the man sighed, “vi shver es iz tzu zein a Yid,” repeating an old Yiddish saying meaning, “How difficult it is to be a Jew!”
The Rebbe asked him, “Do you often express yourself this way?”
“In stressful times -- and there are many -- yes, I do,” said the man.
This week's Torah portion, Vayeilech, describes the last days of Moses' life. The title of each Torah portion highlights an important concept which is taught in that particular portion. Vayeilech literally means 'and Moses went' from the root of the word Halicha, meaning 'going' in Hebrew.
'Halicha' also means the idea of being on the move, of not being stagnant. By subjecting ourselves to an honest reckoning, using this time for introspection and self-assessment and drawing the necessary conclusions, we are able to move on and to grow as people, rather than remaining stuck where we are. We have the capability to 'go', to reach very high moral and spiritual levels. We cannot remain standing still, we must be 'goers,' movers and shakers, people who grow, who make a difference to what is going on.
There is a well-known fable of a man in distress looking up to G‑d; "G‑d, You promised to walk besides me, but when I look behind me I see only one set of footprints trodden into the sands of my life?"
And a caring, compassionate voice responds, "My son, those footprints you see are Mine, carrying you as you traveled along your journey."
We read this Shabbat how, after the foretold galut (exile) which we are currently suffering, (and if we think we’re not suffering that just shows how blinded to the realities of our unnatural existence we’ve become), "G‑d will return home..." Note: not "G‑d will return you home"; rather He, too, is in exile, as it were, and the future redemption will see G‑d Himself resume His rightful place, as it were, in our common homeland.