The Sh'ma Is the Jewish Safety Net

The brave attempt at monotheism was bound to go wrong sometimes, and when it did, the Israelites would need help putting the pieces back together again.


Atar Hadari
Observation
Aug. 3 2017
About the author

Atar Hadari’s Songs from Bialik: Selected Poems of H. N. Bialik (Syracuse University Press) was a finalist for the American Literary Translators’ Association Award. His Lives of the Dead: Poems of Hanoch Levin earned a PEN Translates award and was released in 2019 by Arc Publications. He was ordained by Rabbi Daniel Landes and is completing a PhD on William Tyndale’s translation of Deuteronomy.


There is an elegiac quality to this week’s reading of Va’etḥanan (Deuteronomy 3:23 – 7:11). It begins, as David Wolpe noted here last week, with Moses having to accept that he won’t be receiving what he was promised, and won’t be crossing over with his people into the land. And then it gets worse. Moses is deeply worried that without him, when the Israelites are left to their own devices, all will be lost.

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More about: Hebrew Bible, Moses, Religion & Holidays