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12/13 August: Parshat Devarim

rabbipaulsmlShabbat comes in 8.15 pm: goes out 9.20 pm 

On vacation with my family on remote Fire Island off New York this summer, I had the opportunity to see the stars at night as I haven’t seen them in years.  A full sky of stars with no interference from city lights.

I remembered that Rabbi Yaakov Dushinksky, z”l, commented on our parsha, Devarim, (in which Moses begins his repetition of the laws and stories in the Torah) about the promise to the children of Israel:  God told Avraham, “look now toward Heaven and count the stars…. so shall your seed be”. 

Why were we compared to the stars?   Will we be as numerous as stars? Or do we shine as brightly as the stars in Heaven?  Rabbi Dushinsky has another view.  He wrote that light emanates from stars and takes a long time to reach us.   So too, teachers and judges could be long gone and buried, and yet what they did in their lifetime could influence future generations who are true to their teachings.  The star may be gone,  yet the fruits of its labour continue to shine brightly in our day.   We benefit from our teachers of long ago, and we hope that our lights will also shine after we are gone.

Shabbat Shalom,

Rabbi Paul Arberman

August 10, 2016