Go As Hard As You Can for As Long As You Can (Quick Comment, Parashat Va-ethanan)

ואתחנן”…And he (Moses) pleaded (Deuteronomy 3:23).

The word appears only once in the Bible and refers to Moses final plea — (after already having been told, “No!) that God allow him to enter the Promised Land. This time God answers sharply and tells Moses effectively, The answer remains “No!” And don’t bring this up again!

What does this teach us?

We all have dreams that will remain unfulfilled. No matter who we are there will always be something we wish we could have done that we did not!

It is as though God tells us what a soccer coach says to his starting players: “Go as hard as you can for as long as you can, and I’ll know–not you–when it’s time to take you out of the game!”

Is that REALLY the way God works? I do not know for sure. None of us does.

But I believe

 I believe that a single, good and caring God wants to take responsibility to combat the injustice, hunger, homelessness, violence, disease and environmental neglect that plague our world.

Am I sure of this? No, I am not.

But I do know that if we act כאלו “as if” there is a God who wants us to do these things, we would have a much better world than we have now.

 Moses, the “servant of the Eternal One” (Deuteronomy 34:5) is the Torah’s foremost example of one who lived as God wished. Despite Moses, pleadings, God took him “out of the game” before he was ready. We, like Moses, should “go as hard as we can for as long as we can” to make the world better. But we should realize that God may decide at any time to take us “out of the game.”

6 thoughts on “Go As Hard As You Can for As Long As You Can (Quick Comment, Parashat Va-ethanan)

  1. Yes, Susan, but to you, Lisa Book and Rabbi Edelman, I would say that if we all did half as much as the three of you do in your own individual ways, the Messiah would imminently arrive to redeem the world!


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