This week we begin the fifth and final book of the Torah, Devarim or Deuteronomy in English. Devarim means words in Hebrew, and Deuteronomy means second telling.
In this book Moses gives one last oration to the Israelites before they enter the land of Israel to reinforce God’s teachings. Moses fears that the Israelites will forsake their covenant with God once they enjoy material success.
This reminds us that Judaism is a fragile thread, and requires each generation’s commitment to remain part of the people and pass it on to the next generation.
This is an anxiety not just in our own time but since the beginning of our history: Jews have worried whether we will remain committed to our people and our calling. The question was as true for Moses as it is for us today.