“Then Moses separated three cities across the Jordan, from the east. To flee there a killer that killed without intention . . .’” (Devarim/Deuteronomy 4:41-42). Moses fulfills the commandment to create three cities of refuge. But why should he bother since they will not become havens until the Land of Israel is conquered and the other three cities are established?

Ever Have Trouble Finishing Projects?

The parsha for this Sabbath is Va’eschanan. It begins with Moses praying that G-d will change His decree and let him enter the Land of Israel. Then Moses exhorts the Children of Israel to keep G-d’s commandments and sets the example himself by fulfilling the mitzvah to set aside Cities of Refuge. Next Moses reviews the Ten Commandments and teaches the Israelites the Shema. The parsha ends with Moses urging the People not to succumb to prosperity but rather to diligently teach their children about the exodus from Egypt and to follow the Torah.

Instant Gratification vs. Enduring Value

While many Americans are in need of instant gratification among other indicators, the number of people in their 20s buying homes demonstrates that some are aware of the wisdom in saving and investing for their future. Still, I am left wondering if they knew they had no chance of paying off their mortgage before they died would they still become homeowners?

Moses provides a contrast. The Hebrew word used for separated, yavdil, can also mean set aside. Rashi points out that this indicates Moses set his heart to the task of establishing the three cities of refuge. The opportunity to comply with G-d’s will and provide a benefit to future generations had him trembling with anticipation about fulfilling this mitzvah.

Finishing Projects Isn't Always the Point

Are you prone to beginning projects but lose enthusiasm and leave them incomplete? Of what value is this to you and others? Are you unwilling to begin a project unless you are certain it will come to fruition within your lifetime? What about worthwhile causes that may not bear fruit for generations to come? Are they to go wanting?

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I am convinced one of the reasons people reject religion and marriage is both are lifelong undertakings. Nobody’s relationship with G-d is ever finished nor is a marriage perfected. It seems pointless to go through all the struggle and heartache. Yet the point of both is to work continually to improve yourself and set an example of how to be better for your friends and loved ones, especially your children.

Moses creates the paradigm. His excitement at improving his connection with The Creator was boundless, even though the task seemed fruitless. Yet undoubtedly Moses was blessed many times by killers, whose lives were spared, and their loved ones because he set up the cities of refuge east of the Jordan.

Question – What will you do in your lifetime knowing that, at best, future generations will bless you?

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© , Kevin S. Bemel, All Rights Reserved

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