It sounds familiar …
Almost like V’ehavta …
But something’s different —
Last week’s portion included these words, which are part of V’ehavta:
You shall love Adonai your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. These words which I command you this day shall be in your heart. Teach them to your children. Recite them when you stay at home and when you are away, when you life down and when you get up. Bind them as a sign upon your hand and let them be a symbol between your eyes. Inscribe them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.
This week we find similar words:
Therefore impress these My words upon your heart and on your soul; bind them as a sign on your hand and let them be a symbol between your eyes; and teach them to your children – reciting them when you stay and home and when you are away, when you lie down and when you rise up; and inscribe them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.
The translations (based on JPS) are virtually identical. But there’s a significant difference in the Hebrew. While these passages are written primarily in the second person singular, verses 18 and 19 in Deuteronomy 11 – through the words translated as “teach them to your children” – are written in the second person plural.
It’s likely the various versions of these commandments we find in Torah came from different sources, which could explain the combination of singular and plural in verses 18-20. But that also means at least one source used the plural.
What did that source intend to teach us by commanding the community, rather than the individual?
The image above, which I took on a trip to Israel, shows a woman wearing tefillin and praying with her daughter near the Kotel. It reflects several of the commandments in the passages included this week, “… bind them … let them be a symbol … teach them …”
The Torah In Haiku
by Ed Nickow • www.thetorahinhaiku.com