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.
Why the Soul Loves the Body
Body and soul are opposites. The soul wants nothing more than to escape heavenward, to leave its existence in this world and reunite with its Infinite Source. The body, on the other hand, seeks to experience an earthly life full of earthly pleasures. The body is not interested in abstract spiritual concepts. The body craves instant, tangible gratification.
How then do the body and soul unite so smoothly to become the human being? Why is the soul not at war with the body's gravitational pull? Why does the soul not escape the confines of the body?
No Free Rides
The age of 2 has notoriously been dubbed “The Terrible Twos” as toddlers begin to assert their independence. As if on cue, my sweet granddaughter has become adamant about doing things “all by herself.”
One of her most popular refrains is “Self do it!” Her solution for tasks that she’d prefer to push off, such as bed time, is simply, “Mommy, go away!”
But while one minute she is stridently trying to do things on her own, the next minute she’ll eagerly snuggle up to have a book read to her. She will declare an appreciative “tank you” when I dress her doll after her own frustrating attempt, but will stubbornly refuse to hold my hand while climbing the staircase. The look of victory in her eyes after she reaches the top is priceless.
The Fewest of all Peoples
Buried inconspicuously in this week’s parsha is a short sentence with explosive potential, causing us to think again about the nature of Jewish history and the Jewish task in the present.
Moses had been reminding the new generation, the children of those who left Egypt, of the extraordinary story of which they are the heirs:
Ask now about the former days, long before your time, from the day God created human beings on the earth; ask from one end of the heavens to the other. Has anything so great as this ever happened, or has anything like it ever been heard of? Has any other people heard the voice of God speaking out of fire, as you have, and lived? Has any god ever tried to take for himself one nation out of another nation, by testings, by signs and wonders, by war, by a mighty hand and an outstretched arm, or by great and awesome deeds, like all the things the L‑rd your God did for you in Egypt before your very eyes?