A miscellaneous note: I don't want to spam y'all with yet another post today, so I'm hijacking the beginning of this Radical Torah repost to let y'all know that I reviewed Rabbi Danya Ruttenberg's latest anthology, The Passionate Torah, at the Forward this week. The review is here: Let's Talk About Sex. Enjoy!
Here's the d'var Torah I wrote in 2006 for this week's Torah portion, originally published at the now-defunct Radical Torah.
And now, O Israel, give heed to the laws and rules that I am instructing you to observe, so that you may live to enter and occupy the land that Adonai, the God of your fathers, is giving you. You shall not add anything to what I command you or take anything away from it, but keep the commandments of Adonai your God that I enjoin upon you.
Setting aside for the moment whatever mixed feelings some of us may have about entering and occupying the land -- maybe especially this week, as we endure the emotional rollercoaster of Tisha b'Av and we remember the destruction of the temple and the spiritual growing pains that the diaspora brought upon us -- this is a fascinating snippet of parashat Va-etchanan. What are we to make of this injunction neither to add to, nor to subtract from, the Torah of God's commandments...especially given that in its retellings, the book of D'varim is already doing just that?