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Emulating Moses - Day of Good Deeds

Wednesday, 25 June, 2014 - 11:15 am

When the Jews approached the land of the Emorites, which lies on the east bank of the Jordan River, they sent a message to Sichon, king of the Emorites, asking permission to pass through his land to reach Canaan. Sichon refuses and instead masses his armies and attacks the Jews.

The Torah begins this narrative with: “Israel sent messengers to Sichon...." (Numbers 21:21)

When Moses repeats the event to the Jewish people he says: “So I sent messengers from the desert of Kedem to Sichon …” (Deuteronomy 2:26).

Reading these texts, one cannot tell who sent the messengers, whether it was Moses or the Israelites.

Rashi explains: “These verses supplement each other; one holds back [information by not informing us who authorized the sending of the messengers] and the other reveals [that Moses sent them]. Moses is Israel, and Israel is Moses, to teach you that the leader of the generation is equal to the entire generation, because the leader is everything”.

Moses was the leader of the Israelites. His leadership role is what motivated him and gave him his joie de vivre. Therefore, the Torah does not need to differentiate whether it was Moses or the Israelites who sent the messengers as they are one and the same. Moses had no self-identity. The Israelites was his life; they were his essence.

Moses and the Israelites were one and it was not possible to separate and distinguish them.

This Tuesday will be the 20th Yarhtzeit of the Lubavitcher Rebbe.

Similar to Moses in his generation, the Rebbe is the leader of our generation.

The Rebbe held every Jew, and in truth every human being, as precious. Not only a congregational rabbi or Israel's prime minister, yet even a difficult person or a prisoner sitting in prison. They are all irreplaceable parts of our people.

The Rebbe expressed his desire and obligation to take care of his flock. The Rebbe charged people to pay attention to the physical well-being as well as the spiritual well-being of their fellow community members.

Just as Moses had no independent identity of his own and was concerned about “not only the people of Israel but even Mr. Israel”, the individual Jew, so too, the Rebbe sent his emissaries to every corner of the globe to ensure that each and every individual is taken care of.

The job of the local Chabad House, or the Roving Rabbis, is to provide for the needs of the local community. Whatever spiritual or physical needs the individual may have, they aim to be there for them. It can be tefillin or directions to an AA meeting, a Shabbat experience or putting food on the table.

We, being one with Moses, should emulate him. Harford County proclaimed this Tuesday as a Day of Good Deeds (see the proclamation here). Please join the movement. Find someone that needs support and encouragement and provide it for them.

Reply to this email or join the Facebook event.

Have a wonderful Shabbos,

Rabbi Kushi Schusterman

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