150000 ppl by avivi. cc: flickr.
Rabbi Ofer Shabbat- Beit Halachmi asks what will we answer our children when, in the future, they will ask us where have you been during the big social protest of Summer 2011?
There are historical events that we ask where have you been when… Where were you when Prime Minister Isaac Rabin was murdered or, vastly different, I hope that our children will ask us in the future: where were you in the Summer of 2011 at the time of the great social protest.
Why do we ask this? What meaning does the place we have been during an important event of our people is so important?
Deuteronomy begins with two verses of a long and strange description of the place that Moses gave his will, his last words to the People of Israel: “These are the words which Moses spoke unto all Israel beyond the Jordan; in the wilderness, in the Arabah, over against Suph, between Paran and Tophel, and Laban, and Hazeroth, and Di-zahab. It is an eleven days journey from Horeb unto Kadesh-barnea by the way of mount Seir.”
Rashi, following the Midrash, claims that the description in not of one place, but of all the places where the people angered God, and Moses in his words teaches them how to correct their behavior.
Rabbi Shimshon Rafael Hirsh (Rashar) gives a surprising and interesting interpretation. He says that Moses’ voice is still heard in this place. Rashar Hirsh claims that this description is a description of a certain and very important geographical space. It is as important as Sinai Mountain.
Since Moses died when he finished his speech, and since we do not know where he was buried, all his physical essence disappeared from this world. The Rashar said that each word of Moses’ last speech expresses his soul that was full of his people and attached to their future. It was as if Moses delegated his spirit to the people in order to prepare them to their future experiences, and because Moses has no material memorial place, we know only the place that heard his last words, so if a great grandson or grandson of the desert generation will come to the place he will perceive there the echo of Moses’ words and will follow him and continue his project among his people.
From this we can also understand that a place where there was a positive historical event, has an extreme good influence on the correction of people also in the coming generations.
So Where were we during the big protest demonstration of Summer 2011?
Deuteronomy starts with a clear answer to the question where have we been when Moses spoke his last will: “These are the words which Moses spoke unto all Israel…” All the people were present and heard Moses’ last speech, his will, all Deuteronomy book. Rashi asks why is it so important and interprets that because Moses words are a moral admonishment that is designated to correct the injustices of the people, if only a part of the people would have heard it, someone can always say that I was not there and I do not agree, if I was there, I would have argued with Moses and maybe even correct and bring other laws.
Rashi Thinks that there is great importance to the fact that all the people were present in Moses’ last social correction because it is an opportunity to express their opinion, be a part of a creation of a new social and legal treaty of the people. It is a public discourse that all the people should be a part of, to oppose it or to support it.
This is the time when we have not only to hear Torah and moral words, but also to go out and participate in the new social treaty that is created here and now for a more just and modest Israel.