Monday, August 19, 2013

Going Where The Climate Suits My Clothes ( "Going Down the Road Feeling Bad - sung by Jerry Garcia)

Summer must be coming to an end. Our kids just returned from two months at sleep away camp.  Now the sorting begins. The kids unpack their duffle bags. They sort the clothes into piles. Clothes that no longer fit but are in reasonable condition and no one wants, will be donated. Clothes that fit, get washed, dried folded and are returned to their respective drawers. The last pile is the pile that I find so fascinating. This is the pile that contains clothing, and often time sneakers that have just plain worn out.  This pile is the ultimate in irony. These are clothes and sneakers and shoes that our children liked so much that they wore them all the time. Sometimes they wore them so much and neglected to wash the clothes so were filthy and threadbare. Often these were sneakers and clothes that we bought brand new for camp. That’s right; the kids wore out clothing and sneakers in eight weeks. Well they certainly don’t make clothing and shoes like they used to.
This week we read from Parsha Ki Tavo. The Parsha begins with Moshe explaining the laws that are specific to B'nai Yisroel’s entry into the Land.  He reminds them of the laws of first fruits, and tithing.  Moshe reminds them that there is a powerful link between God, B'nai Yisroel and the Land. Each needs the other.  Moshe then describes the ritual specific to this generation that will symbolize their acceptance of the Torah and the covenant.  As they cross the Jordan River, they would inscribe two stones with Kol Divrei HaTorah HaZot BaEir HeiteivYou shall inscribe on the stones all the words of this Torah well clarified.” Then the stones would be covered with plaster in order to protect the inscriptions. Moshe then reminds B'nai Yisroel that they are now an Am Yisroel– a Nation and no longer B’nai Yisroel – Children of Yisroel.  With that change of status comes responsibility, and Moshe lists the blessings and the curses that will result depending upon Am Yisroel’s behavior.  Moshe concludes his passionate plea to fulfill the covenant by giving Am Yisroel a brief history lesson. He reminds them that they left Egypt and saw all the signs and wonders (they didn’t, rather their parents and grandparents experience the Exodus and witnessed the plagues). Moshe reminds them that he let them for Forty years, and they didn’t eat bread nor drink wine, rather they experienced the miracle of the Manna. He reminds them of battles they fought and won and finally he reminded them they were ready to begin their new lives in the land.
Certainly the concluding verses are incredibly uplifting as Moshe passionately explains that they are ready to enter the land. However there is one verse in this “pep-talk” that reminds us that Moshe is really an old man, a zeide (a grandfather or great grandfather), who apparently worked in the shmatte business. “V’Oleich Etchem Arbaim Shana BaMidbarAnd I led you for forty years in the Wilderness, Lo Valu Salmoteichem Mei’Aleichem V’Na’alcha Lo Valtah Mei’Al Raglechayour garment did not wear out from on you, and your shoe did not wear out from on your foot.” (Ex. 29:4). Moshe does not explicitly mention the parting of the Yam Suf, nor surreal and miraculous moments at Sinai. Yes he mentions some battles but shoes and clothes? The fact that they didn’t wear out after all those years; that the miracle? Well yes. Besides water and Manna, this was the one miracle that touched them on a daily basis. This is the one miracle that while it happens, they probably didn’t think about it. At least with the Manna they had to go and gather it. At least with the Water they had to go and draw it. However, with clothes and shoes they would just put them on without any thought, nor effort. Now, looking back, Moshe reminds them that even the smallest miracle, the thing most taken for granted was indeed miraculous.
Yes, the kids have made their piles. Yes, it’s amazing how our son wore through a pair of sneakers in a matter of weeks, and our daughters wore through shoes and shirts in a matter of weeks. No miracle here. Maybe the miracle for these kids is that they came home with the majority of their own clothes and are content with what they have!
Rav Yitz

No comments:

Post a Comment