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Parshat Va’etchanan/Shabbat Nachamu                                       August 17, 2019  16 Av, 5779
                                             Rabbi Sacks on Parshat Va’etchanan
              ARTSCROLL  958           Over the past few       down. But the real freedom   dignity and the sanctity of
                  HERTZ   755          months I’ve been having  worth having, in his view, is   human life. And it is built
                                       conversations with
                                                               freedom-to, meaning the     around an act of mutual
                  HAFTORAH             leading thinkers,       ability to do something that’s   commitment, by God to a
                                       intellectuals, innovators
                                                               difficult and requires effort and  people and by the people to
             ARTSCROLL  1196           and philanthropists for a   expertise. So, for example, if   God.
                  HERTZ  776           BBC series on moral     you want to have the freedom
                                       challenges of the 21st   to play the piano, you have to   The commitment itself is an
                                       century. Among those I   chain yourself to it and practice   act of love. At the heart of it
                     Times             spoke to was David      every day.                  are the famous words from
                                       Brooks, one of the most                             the Shema in this week’s
                                       insightful moralists of our   Freedom in this sense does not  parsha: “You shall love the
           Mincha               7:00 pm   time. His conversation is   mean the absence of restraint,  Lord your God with all your
                                       always scintillating, but   but rather, choosing the right   heart, with all your soul,
           Candle Lighting      7:33 pm   one remark of his was   restraint. That involves   and with all your
                                       particularly beautiful. It is   commitment, which involves a  might” (Deut. 6:5). The
           Hashkama             8:00 am   a key that helps us   choice to forego certain   Torah is the foundational
                                       unlock the entire project   choices. Then he said: “My   narrative of the fraught,
           Parsha Shiur         8:30 am   outlined by Moses in   favorite definition of    sometimes tempestuous,
                                       Sefer Devarim, the fifth   commitment is falling in love   marriage between God and
           Main                 9:00 am   and final book of the   with something and then   an often obstinate people. It
                                                               building a structure of behavior  is a story of love. We can
                                       Torah. We had been
           Beit Midrash         9:15 am   talking about covenants   around it for the moment when  see how central love is to
                                                               love falters.” That struck me as  the book of Deuteronomy
                                       and commitments. I      a beautiful way into one of the  by noting how often the
           Gemara Shiur         6:25 pm   suggested that many   fundamental features of Sefer   root a-h-v, “to love,”
                                       people in the West today   Devarim specifically, and   appears in each of the five
           Mincha               7:25 pm   are commitment-averse,   Judaism generally. The book of  books of the Torah. It
                                       reluctant to bind       Deuteronomy is more than    occurs 15 times in Genesis,
           Shabbat Ends         8:40 pm   themselves           simply Moses’ speeches in the   but none of these is about
                                       unconditionally and open-  last months of his life, his   the relationship between
           Sun. Aug. 18      7:30/8:30 am   endedly to something or   tzava’ah or ethical will to the   God and a human being.
                                       someone. The market
                                       mindset that            future generations. It is more,   They are about the feelings
           Mon. & Thurs.     6:35/7:45 am                      also, than Mishneh Torah, a   of husbands for wives or
                                       predominates today
           Tues., Wed. & Fri.    6:45/7:45 am   encourages us to try this,   recapitulation of the rest of the  parents for children. This is
           Mincha               7:30 pm   sample that, experiment   Torah, a restatement of the   how often the verb appears
                                                               laws and history of the people
                                                                                           in the other 4 books:
                   Latest Times for    and keep our options    since their time in Egypt. It is a  Exodus – 2; Leviticus – 2;
                Shema/Shemoneh Esrei   open for the latest     fundamental theological     Numbers – 0; Deuteronomy
                                       version or the better
                                       deal. Pledges of loyalty   statement of what Judaism is   – 23. Again and again we
           Aug. 17          9:32/10:41 am   are few and far between.   about. It is an attempt to   hear of love, in both
                                       Brooks agreed and noted   integrate law and narrative into  directions, from the
           Aug. 24          9:35/10:42 am   that nowadays freedom is   a single coherent vision of   Israelites to God and from
                                       usually understood as   what it would be like to create   God to the Israelites. It is
                                       freedom-from, meaning
                    Next Shabbat                                             a society of law-governed   the latter that are
                       Ekev            the absence of restraint.   liberty under the sovereignty of  particularly striking. Here
                                       We don’t like to be tied   God: a society of justice,   are some examples: The
                                                               compassion, respect for human  Lord did not set His
           Mincha               7:00 pm
                                                            Kiddush is provided by
           Candle Lighting      7:23 pm
                                                           Great Neck Synagogue
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