44. Devarim 5775

“Don’t Be Afraid…”

Shofar of Rebbe NachmanTo prepare them for entering the Land of Israel without him, Moshe Rabeynu’s simple, clarion advice was: “Don’t be afraid.”[1] After all, the last time he left us on our own, fear he might not return gave rise to the disastrous creation of the Golden Calf.

We’re approaching the final days of mourning for the destruction of the Beis Hamikdash — an event rooted in the destruction of the first tablets of the Torah, and therefore a direct result of the Golden Calf.

How could Israel have substituted an idol for the Creator of the Universe, given all the miracles we had seen? The simplest maidservant saw what no prophet ever had[2] and even the youngest child was able to point heavenward and say, “This is my God…”[3]

The golden calf reminded us of something powerful, but fear made us forget what we were supposed to do with those visions, because fear saps a person’s strength and blocks the discerning powers of the heart.[4]

The sound of the shofar dispels the kind of fear that causes us to forget Hashem.[5] So, during Elul, we begin sounding the shofar — the instrument that awakens the soul, to get ready for our year’s ultimate  “Day of Memory”: Rosh HaShanah.[6]

“Today You Are As the Stars of Heaven…”

Moshe Rabeynu also reminds the People of Israel that they will exist permanently, like the stars.[7] Just as a star is constantly giving its light without fear of being diminished, our Sages advise us to do the same: “Don’t be ungrateful for Hashem’s goodness by appearing as though you are poor, but present yourselves as wealthy.[8]

Remembering who we are clears the pathways of courage in our heart so we can radiate the unique light with which each of us is blessed.

Good ShabbosShabbath Shalom!

[1] Deuteronomy 1:21; 1:29: 3:22

[2] Rashi on Exodus 15:2

[3] Rashi and Medrash on Exodus 15:2

[4] Sefer HaMidoth: Pachad A8; A31

[5] Lekutey Halachoth Orach Chayim, Hilchoth Brachoth Har’Iyah 5:17

[6] Lekutey Halachoth Orach Chayim, Hilchoth Brachoth Har’Iyah 5:18

[7] Rashi on Deuteronomy 1:10

[8] Rashi on Deuteronomy 2:7

 Mail this post

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *