top of page
Search

Be Strong! -- CHRONICLE Online/The WORD 09/07/23

Weekly On-line Rabbi's D'var-Torah

September 7, 2023 21 Elul 5783 Selichot Nitzavim-VayeilechI love watching the US Open this time of year. Last week, my family and I went to Flushing Meadows for one of the day sessions. This week, we’re trying to keep up with the tournament by watching on TV. I have to admit that I enjoy watching tennis on TV much more when John McEnroe is the commentator. I like listening to him for two reasons. First of all, his very presence helps to transport me back in time to when I would watch his tennis matches against Bjorn Borg, Jimmy Connors, and others. I can still hear him yelling at the chair umpire over some call that he didn’t like. Secondly, and more importantly, I appreciate that he celebrates both the history of tennis as well as the young players who are the future of tennis. He’s not afraid to say that a contemporary player is better than a player from a previous era. Just a few nights ago, he told young viewers to model their forehands after Ben Shelton (who has now qualified for the semifinals). McEnroe said that Shelton’s forehand is the best example of the modern forehand. Implicit in that comment is an acknowledgement that tennis has changed over the years and will continue to change. He didn’t tell young viewers to watch old videos of himself or his contemporaries. He knows that the game is different now (the automated line calls have eliminated arguing with the umpires!). In this week’s double Torah portion, Moshe displayed a similar type of wisdom. The Torah describes the relationship between Moshe and the man who would follow him as leader of the Israelites—Joshua. We read: “Then Moshe called Joshua and said to him in the sight of all Israel: “Hazak Ve’ematz—be strong and resolute for it is you who shall go with this people into the Land…. Adonai will go before you and be with you…. Lo Tira v’lo Teichat—Fear not and be not dismayed (Deuteronomy 31:7).” What an amazing thing to do! Moshe did not want to give up the leadership of the people. Moshe wanted to go into the Promised Land. However, Moshe realized that his time had passed. It was time for the Israelites to turn their eyes away from him and toward Joshua. It was this attitude—exemplified by his public statements—that positioned Joshua for success. The Children of Israel would never forget Moshe. However, it was clearly time for a new generation of leadership. He displayed great strength and courage in making the transition so smooth for the next generation. Shalom, RAF.

Recent Posts

See All
bottom of page