Let My People Know

Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz: “Scripture is talking about us.”

To be a soldier in God’s army is not a simple matter.

In the army, someone who cries at every step is forced to run, laden with equipment, more kilometers than he thought he could walk his whole life.

A soldier is ordered to take apart his weapon, reassemble it, and oil it, over and over, until he does it to perfection.

Even if he does not want to do it, even if he is too tired and exhausted and wants to fall asleep already, nevertheless, he knows that he will continue, for that is what he must do.

As in every army, the drills do not always seem to be vital or useful, but the point of it all is to get a person to move, to train, to run.

This task does not fall on others, but on us and on all those who are with us.

These are the words of Moses our Master, which still apply and are always relevant:

“It was not with our ancestors that God made this covenant, but with us, the living, every one of us who is here today.”

The repetitious language is purposeful – no one should mistakenly think that Scripture is talking about someone else.

Scripture is not talking about others, about the neighbors, about the dead, or about the tzaddikim.

Scripture is talking about us – all of us who are alive today.

God made this covenant with us – despite our problems, our troubles, our crookedness – and it applies to us today.

“God our Lord established a covenant with us at Horev.” There is no getting around it; the covenant is “with us, every one of us who is here today.”

–Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz