Last week, we began the book of Devarim (Deuteronomy) and began a review of the events of the prior 40 years – the redemption from Egypt, wandering in the Wilderness, and many of the events that occurred there.
This week, Parasha V’Eschanan continues with retelling many of the things that happened during our Exodus. It also includes some of the foundations of Judaism – the Ten Commandments (a repetition, with slight variations, of what was given at Sinai) and the Shema.
But there is one part of the parasha that especially appeals to me as a parent and a Scout leader, because it involves interaction between parents and their kids. It is Chapter 6, verses 20 through 25:
If your child asks you tomorrow, saying, “What are the testimonies and decrees and laws that the Lord, our God, commanded you?” You shall say to your child, “We were slaves to Pharaoh in Egypt, and God took us out of Egypt with a strong hand. God placed signs and wonders, great and harmful, against Egypt, against Pharaoh and against his entire household, before our eyes. And He took us out of there in order to bring us, to give the Land that he swore to our forefathers. God commanded us to perform all these decrees, to fear the Lord, our God, for our good, all the days, to give us life, as this very day. And it will be a merit for us if we are careful to perform this entire commandment before the Lord, our God, as He commanded us.”
So here’s a mitzvah – a commandment – that your parents cannot do without you asking them! Of course, your parents could tell you the story without being asked, and that would probably work just as well.
We fulfill this mitzvah every year at the Passover Seder. The part of the four sons (or daughters) is to ask about the Exodus, and the part of the parents is to educate their children about the Exodus, including how God delivered us from slavery to freedom.
But you’ve just performed the mitzvah right now, because you studied about the Exodus and what God did for us. Yasher koach! (More power to
One request – don’t let your parents read this week’s Derech Tsofeh. It’s eight months until Passover, and if your parents read this discussion, they may think they need to start preparing the house again with all the cleaning and cooking. Let them enjoy the last few weeks of summer.