Words to a New Generation

Parashat Devarim

Deuteronomy is unique. Firstly, the book is a retelling of the entire Torah.

Second, as the Vilna Gaon notes, the first four books of the Torah were heard directly from the mouth of HaShem. Whereas Deuteronomy is Moshe’s recounting of the events at a later date. In the first four books of the Torah, HaShem is the primary speaker. In Deuteronomy, Moshe is the primary speaker.

Lastly, the book involves a different generation than the rest of the Torah. Meaning, the whole reason Moshe is pleading with the people at the beginning of this parasha is because it is a new generation about to go into the Promised Land. This is not the generation who wandered in the dessert for forty years. This is not the generation that left Egypt and was involved in the sin of the golden calf. Many of these people were not even born when the Torah was originally given, and if they were, they may not have been old enough to fully comprehend the impact of the giving of the Torah on Mt. Sinai. This was a new generation.

Many of us represent this new generation. There is a new land we are about to enter. As many voices in the Jewish world are declaring the demise of Judaism in America, we stand at the threshold of opportunity. We can either listen to the calls of those who only see the end of the Jewish community as we know it, or we can take hold of the vision cast by HaShem.

Deuteronomy is a voice to a new generation. It is a voice to us. You and I may not have physically stood at Mt. Sinai, but we did receive the Torah (Dt. 5:3). It is time to take hold of the Torah once again and step forward into a new land.

The generation of our Torah portion experienced the dying out of the pervious generation. We also do not have to look far to see Judaism diminishing among our parents’ generation. But it does not have to end here. If we are willing to look closely, there is a Promised Land ahead.

The great Jewish believer, Paul Phillip Levertoff once wrote:

It is the business of the Chasid to live now for the realization of this Messianic Age.

It is our destiny, as devoted Chasidim of our Messiah, to prepare the world for the coming of Mashiach.

We need to create communities that are focused on relationships, where people are valued for being created b’tzelem Elohim – in the image of G-d. We need communities where people are empowered to lead and to follow, and where leaders serve as guides, rather than as lone-rangers. We need to embody a vision of Jewish life that is infused with the power of Yeshua, and filled with the Spirit. We need to reclaim our identities as Israel declaring a corporate witness to the world of G-d’s continued unfolding plan for the Jewish people and the Nations.

There is yet a Promised Land ahead. Are you able to see it? And if you’re able to catch a glimpse of it, are you ready to help build it?

About Rabbi Joshua

I'm a Rabbi, writer, thinker, mountain biker, father and husband ... not necessarily in that order. According to my wife, however, I'm just a big nerd. I have degrees in dead languages and ancient stuff. I have studied in various Jewish institutions, including an Orthodox yeshiva in Europe. I get in trouble for making friends with perfect strangers, and for standing on chairs to sing during Shabbos dinner. In addition to being the Senior Rabbi of Beth Emunah Messianic Synagogue in Agoura Hills, CA, I write regularly for several publications and speak widely in congregations and conferences. My wife is a Southern-fried Jewish Beltway bandit and a smokin' hot human rights attorney... and please don’t take offense if I dump Tabasco sauce on your cooking.
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1 Response to Words to a New Generation

  1. Rik says:

    When I read this after I got home tonight I thought "how good is this". A friend and I,both in our early 60's,were haveing this same discussion this afternoon. Many old established congregational communities are full of self relevant gray heads. A song by Neil Simon from our generation told about a rock that was an island. A ,self improtant, island. An actual island vertualy never dies. However a orginization of people who become relevant and important just by vertue of their own existance, without being an interactive part of the at large community. Has become an island. Yeshua referd to it as salt that lost its Savor. If your not relevant you irrelevant. And if you were once relevant and can no longer realize one is not. Than You lost your savor and live with blinders on, no true vision to see ahead. If we remember The Word and its power comming from Sinai but forgot how to applie it too new approaching paradigms, We might find ourselves irrelevant. WE do need to reclaim our identities as Israel. Some have identities from a Theology lerned in Europe, mixed with old Hellenist and greco-roman mindset. We need to reclaim the witness and Theology given at Sinei. And again become Apologists of Yeshua the living Torah/Word.

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