Tzvi Ilan ben Gita update: Recuperation continues. Ilan is able to speak in full sentences. He is able to walk with a cane or walker. He is eating solid food and we hope that his trach will be removed tomorrow.
Deuteronomy Hizkuni: Nitzavim
Humans are the only creatures that can make things up. This has given rise to art and literature, poetry and prose, architecture, technology and all the advances the human race has benefited from. However, there is a self-destructive side to imagination as well. Humans are also the only creatures that can deny reality.
All other creatures, when confronted with danger, instinctively react. Man has somehow neutralized this primordial instinct in itself.
“Lest there should be among you man, or woman, or family, or tribe, whose heart turns away this day from the Lord our God, to go to serve the gods of those nations; lest there should be among you a root that bears gall and wormwood; and it come to pass, when he hears the words of this curse, that he bless himself in his heart, saying: ‘I shall have peace, though I walk in the stubbornness of my heart–that the watered be swept away with the dry’; the Lord will not be willing to pardon him, but then the anger of the Lord and His jealousy shall be kindled against that man, and all the curse that is written in this book shall lie upon him, and the Lord shall blot out his name from under heaven.” Deuteronomy 29:17-19
Rabbi Hizkiyahu ben Manoach (Hizkuni) explains that when the stubborn man hears the word of God, hears the warnings, hears the punishments, he blesses himself and says “it won’t happen to me.” He thinks perhaps others may fall victim to the consequences of their actions, others will feel the wrath of God. But for some egocentric reason, he will be spared. He will be the lucky one who is immune to God’s judgment, who will escape the consequences of his actions.
But it is exactly that man (or woman, or family, or tribe) that will receive the harshest punishment of all. They will receive ALL the curses. To top it off, they will receive the curse we only lay on our worst enemies – their name will be erased from existence.
In this period of repentance we need to wake up from our self-delusions. We need to honestly confront ourselves. That way lays the path to forgiveness, redemption and blessing.
May we all successfully prepare ourselves for a New and Sweet Year.
To the young women who have come to Jerusalem for a year, to study Torah together with the Arts. By combining these two areas they are making healthy, rooted use of their imaginations. Hatzlacha Rabbah.