One Day at a Time
The sedra of Va’etchanan continues Moshe’s review of past events, reminding us of their exodus from Egypt and the giving of the 10 Commandments. Moshe is also reminded of the fact he will not be able to enter the land he so long desired to reach.
Like much of this final book of the Torah, Moshe continues to caution his people to follow God’s laws. In chapter 4 verse 4 it says “But you who cling to Hashem, your God – you are alive today.” Simply understood to mean those that choose to follow the word of God, to walk in His way and keep His holy laws, that person will merit long life in this world, and according to the Talmud the promise of life in the world to come.
But why does the verse add the word ‘today’? If I ‘cling’ to God I will be rewarded, but how can the reward for the world to come be given today? We know that every word in the Torah has importance, why does it need to mention this word and what can we take away from its meaning?
Moving away from the simple understanding of the verse, we peel back the layers behind Moshe’s eternal message to his people, once again demonstrating his tremendous leadership. He realised the magnitude of the Torah. The details, the intricacies, the depth and the commitment were then and will always be awesome, but also overwhelming. To the onlooker it seems an impossible task, how could we be expected to master and keep everything that is asked of us?
So Moshe was giving us a message, just take one day at a time. Do not look at the entire Torah and breadth of Jewish Law feeling crushed by its sheer magnitude; just take each day as it comes, step by step. We can gain so much from this both for our own Jewish growth, and also how we face life challenges.
When standing at the foot of the mountain staring up its peak, the fear and scale of the climb might lead a person to turn away. Therefore look ahead, look at the path without feeling like it is an unattainable task and just keep going. This can apply to any mountain we face, wherever that might be.
When trying to grow in our dedication to our faith, just take one step at a time. It is not all or nothing, but with each mitzvah I do it leads to another and then another. Moshe is teaching us to live for today, to appreciate what we have, and realise when faced with challenges we CAN achieve anything, just take it slow and with care and dedication – one day at a time.