• Home
  • Parashah Insights
  • Ask the Rabbi
  • Festivals & Fasts
  • Articles
  • Books
  • About
  •  

    With words you can conquer a country – D’varim

    Moses Children of IsraelMoses’ career was coming to an end, and what did he leave Israel to remember him by? As the opening passage of Parashat D’varim reminds us, he left the Israelites words.

    Unlike most people these days, he did not make a will in the normal sense, dividing up his land, houses, possessions and material assets amongst his children and others whom he wished to benefit.

    Despite his claim, Lo ish d’varim anochi – “I am not a man of words” (Ex. 4:10), it was words that he left as his legacy, the words that would enable the people to organise and govern themselves.

    The words that would provide guidance when they needed a beacon to follow, the words that summed up what they meant to God and what, hopefully, God would mean to them.

    That’s why he remains after so many centuries Moshe Rabbenu, Moses our Teacher, the one whose words are our guide and constitution.

    Theodor Herzl was once challenged by a critic who mocked the Zionist flag and said, “A flag? What’s a flag? Just a piece of cloth on a pole!”

    Herzl replied, “Yes, you’re right – that is what a flag is, a piece of cloth on a pole. But with a flag you can lead people anywhere, especially to the Promised Land!”

    Later generations could hypothetically challenge Moses, “Words? What really are words? Mere puffs of sound!” And Moses could respond, “Yes, true, words are a mere puff of sound. But with words you can conquer a country; with words you can build Utopia!”

    Comments are closed.