Wisdom for the walk

Va’etchanan (I Pleaded) D’Varim (Deut.) 3:23-7:11

Haftorah Readings: Isaiah (Yesh’yahu) 40:1-26

Bless each of you today. I would like to begin with a verse from the Prophet Isaiah. The Prophet reading for this Sabbath begins with Isaiah 40:1, “Comfort ye comfort ye My people! says your G-d.” Because of this verse this Sabbath is known as the Sabbath Nachamu or the Sabbath of comfort. This is not talking about physical comfort but more a spiritual and emotional comfort. The important point being made to each of us is to comfort the Jewish people. G-d is directing us to comfort His people.


As I considered this verse this week, I thought of how the oldest hatred has raised its head in our day, anti-Semitism. We see it all around us. I would ask all of us to pray for and also help however we can, the Jewish people we know or have some connection to. If we don’t fall into that category maybe make the effort to get to know or find some way to touch these people. For sure we can all include them in our daily prayers.

Now to our Torah portion and my question of the week. In Deut./D’Varim 6:17-18 we read, “Be sure to keep the commandments, decrees, and laws that the L-rd your G-d has given you. Do what is right and good in the sight of the L-rd…” My question was, why did Moshe add the second sentence of doing what is right and good in the sight of the L-rd? He had just said in the first verse to keep all the laws, decrees and commandments that the L-rd had given them. It might seem that verse 18 was redundant. What was he getting at here?

I think each day we are faced with choices that, on the face of it, do not violate any of G-d’s commandments, or do not fit into any of the categories we might call sin. So what do we do in those cases? I think when we come to one of those times we are called to pay attention to what is good and right in the sight of G-d, because He loves goodness and righteousness. The Bible does not cover every single action we take in a day. It does cover those things that all people face but there are things that while not prohibited by scripture, do not bring goodness and righteousness. 

Last week we covered the story of the rich young ruler found in Mark 10:17-27 of the Messianic scripture. He came to Yeshua asking what he might do to inherit eternal life. Yeshua’s response was, “You know the commandments.” In verse 20 the young man said, “Teacher, I have kept all these things from my youth up.” In verse 21 Yeshua answered, “Go and sell all you possess and give to the poor and you will have treasures in Heaven, and come follow Me.”

This young man was faced with the truth of these verses we are reading here today in our Torah portion. He was faithful to do the commandments. However, true faith requires more than rote actions. Our faith requires us to go further than that. Yeshua and Moshe, both were saying there is more to it than just keeping the commandments. We are also to do what is right and good in the sight of G-d. Our faith in G-d must shine as a characteristic of our life for people to see. It must move us to always do what is right and good in the sight of G-d.

In our Torah portion, we read of Moshe recounting the commandments of G-d. He wanted to make sure this second generation of Israelites had the same foundation as their fathers and mothers before them. Then, he went further. There is more to following G-d than just doing what is written. What is written should move us to go further, to do that which is good and righteous in the eyes of G-d. The Word of G-d must go before our actions. 

We read throughout the prophets of people doing what was required but missing the still small voice saying, “Your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, This is the way walk in it, whenever you turn to the right hand or whenever you turn to the left.” Isaiah 30:21. Today, in our world, we are faced with new choices, new options. We must always weigh them against the word of G-d and do that which is righteous and good.

May G-d Almighty give each of us the wisdom needed to navigate our path in a righteous and G-dly manner. May we choose His Way at every turn and walk in it.