This week's portion: potential and reality
August 22, 2006
This week's Torah portion, Shofetim, contains a stirring speech meant to be delivered by officials to young soldiers on the eve of battle. The speech singles out anyone who has built a house, but not dedicated it; planted a vineyard, but not harvested it; become betrothed, but not yet wed. Any man in these shoes, Torah says, should be sent home to fulfil his life's potential instead of going into battle to fight.
That speech sparked my d'var Torah this week at Radical Torah. Here's a little taste:
A vineyard planted but not harvested is a place of future fruitfulness. The vines have been chosen and cultivated, watered and weeded, and now they must be stewarded until they are ready to bear their grapes. And a grape-grower's responsibility doesn't end when his grapes are harvested; then comes the obligation to carry the fruit to market, to press the grapes into juice and guard it into wine, to elevate the wine in blessing... A man who has planted vines but not harvested them is poised in potential, and he deserves to enjoy the fruits of his labors (both literal and metaphorical).
Read the whole thing here: Turning potential into reality.