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The Idea that Changed the World!

  Parshat ואתחנן Va'etchanan Deuteronomy 3:23-7:11 

Haftorah: Isaiah 40:1-26 


This week's Torah portion is titled "Va'etchanan."  And it simply means "to beseech or, in Moses' case, "besought." 

The root word is "חנן Chanan," which means "to be gracious, to show favor, to pity." 

So often, myths circulate in religious circles outside Judaism that the Tanakh (Old Testament) is all about "Law" and the New Testament is about "Grace." And Grace is better than Law or above the Law (Torah).

This Torah portion is a "myth buster" for two reasons: 

Firstly, it opens up with the word Grace, a word that is replete throughout the whole of the Tanakh if you know Hebrew.

Secondly, the emphasis on obedience through grace found throughout the book of Devarim (Deuteronomy) becomes the foundational doctrine that forged the greatest free society in human history, "The United States of America."  Furthermore, it freed England from the oppression of evil kings, paving the way for its free society.

In this Torah portion, G-D says, "keep my Torah and do it; for this is your wisdom and understanding in the sight of the nations, which shall hear all these statutes, and say, Surely this great nation is a wise and understanding people." Devarim 4:6

We are witnesses to this Truth spoken thousands of years ago. If G-D didn't declare it and the Jews didn't live it, we would live in a very different world than we do today. 

Check out Va'etchanan by Rabbi Sacks: The Idea That Changed the World!

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