Ki Teitzei

An aged parent sits at home in his favourite armchair, surrounded by his children. He speaks softly of the past and of the future. He knows that death approaches and wishes to pass on his accumulated wisdom and experience to his descendants. His children face a future full of promise and some uncertainty. They will move on into a world the parent will never know, but they badly need his advice. The old man thinks of everything. He provides moral rules to guide their behaviour both at home and abroad. He gives guidance on property and land rights. He has practical advice on building houses. He even covers personal hygiene necessary to avoid ill-health for both his children and their neighbours. It seems he can see well into the future, for he knows that one day some of his descendants will become kings. Humble for both himself and for his illustrious progeny, he warns against the greed and self-indulgence which power can bring. As he speaks, he looks serene, or is there a hint of regret in his eyes for a future he will not know, for a world he will not explore?

Thus speaks Moses, only Moses speaks to a whole people and he is not sat at home in his favourite armchair. Indeed he has no home at all, for he is one of thousands on thousands of refugees wandering the desert, shunned by the resident tribes and peoples, moving ever on. Also, Moses does not speak his own words, but those of God, though it is the same thing, since Moses’ heart is with God.

The parshas for last week, Shoftim, and for this, Ki Teitzei, overflow with laws and guidance. Surely, the people will go forth and build as near perfect a society as humanity can hope for. Or will they?

To have a better idea of the blueprint for a better world, come to the service this Saturday at 10.30. Adam Feldman will lead us in prayer, song and reflection.