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Idea on the Portion of the Week


Upon entering the promised land the tribes were divided into 2 groups of representatives to stand on the 2 mountains of Ebal and Gerizim. They would pronounce the blessings and curses involved in observing or not observing the Torah. The last curse seems redundant in that it simply states “Cursed is the one who doesn’t ‘stand up’ the words of the Torah”. Nachmanides, quoting the Jerusalem Talmud, says this is an indirect reference to the ritual of lifting the Torah scroll for all to see at the completion of the Torah reading.


David Wilensky questions the whole premise of this ritual in that if the purpose is for people to see the text why not play it safe and leave the scroll on the lectern and have everyone come up and see it? Why risk its falling or tearing? He suggests that this teaches us that wherever the Torah is located it is in a precarious position and thus needs constant vigilance, and yes, even some risk taking to insure its preservation. Leaving the Torah in a secure, inert place will simply lead to it’s fading from our collective consciousness.

Tue, October 15 2019 16 Tishrei 5780