Student Teaching in the New Millenium

And you shall tear down (5771 Re’eh I)

In Deuteronomy on August 24, 2011 at 9:31 pm

Feeding only belly
When you can feed stomach and soul
Not logical

Isaiah 54:11-55:5
Deuteronomy 11:26 – 12:10

The Israelites are presented the blessing and the curse, the choice between following the statutes and commandments that have been given them, and the curse of not doing so, and chasing other gods. They are told to pronounce the blessing at Mt. Gerizim and the curse at Mt. Ebal. Is this to say the blessing starts at Mt. Gerizim, and the curse starts at Mount Ebal? Is this a battle plan, Gerizim being the staging point and Ebal the first conquest? Is pronouncing the blessing from Gerizim equivalent to announcing the arrival of the Israelites in the Land, and fair warning to the present inhabitants? What kind of message is this?

Have you ever broken a New Years resolution? How does that look? Do you make the commitment on New Years, and then break that commitment on the next day? Do you pronounce your blessing, and then pronounce your curse?

You must destroy all the sites at which the nations you are to dispossess worshiped their gods, whether on lofty mountains and on hills or under any luxuriant tree. Tear down their altars, smash their pillars, put their sacred posts to the fire, and cut down the images of their gods, obliterating their name from that site. (Deut. 12:2-3)

The Israelites are charged to destroy all the pagan worship sites in the Land. History knows this didn’t happen. Are we any better? What other words can you think of to replace the word gods above? Are they idols? Or virtues?

What should we replace them with?

Final question: how does the story of the Trojan Horse relate to this parsha? Hint: Isaiah.

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