Today Is Not Just Any DayAugust 24, 2021 - 12:00 am
“The LORD your God commands you this day to follow these decrees and laws; carefully observe them with all your heart and with all your soul.”— Deuteronomy 26:16
Each week in synagogue, Jews read through the Torah from Genesis to Deuteronomy. The Torah portion for this week is Ki Tavo, which means “when you have entered,” from Deuteronomy 26:1–29:8.
When I was a kid, every year I would get excited about the first day of school. My pencil case would be organized with everything I needed. My backpack was neat, new, and clean. I couldn’t wait to meet my new teachers and start fresh. I would imagine myself getting all my work done perfectly and on time; I would eagerly participate in every class.
But no matter how I felt on day one, by the time we were a few months into the school year… well, let’s just say the excitement wasn’t quite there anymore. The daily routine would set in. One day would blend into the next.
Even as an adult who loves my work for The Fellowship, it can be challenging to feel the energy and excitement of a fresh new idea, when a project is a few years old.
Today Is Not Just Any Day
In this week’s Torah portion, the Bible encourages us to try and find that energy, that newness, and bring it into our service of God. We read, “The LORD your God commands you this day to follow these decrees and laws; carefully observe them with all your heart and with all your soul.”
In the Hebrew the words “this day” are hayom hazeh. The word hayom means “this day” or “today” by itself. The word hazeh — “this” — seems repetitive. It’s as though the Bible says, “this this day.” While this sounds strange in English, the Hebrew actually makes sense.
The difference between hayom and hayom hazeh is the difference between “today” and “this very day.” “This very day” means that today is not just any day. Today is THE day, unique and special in its own right.
Moses spoke these words to the children of Israel at the end of forty years in the desert. They had already received almost all the commandments many years earlier. When Moses said that God commanded them “this very day” to follow His law, he wasn’t talking about that day when he was talking to them. Based on the extra words, hayom hazeh, Jewish tradition understood this verse to be speaking to all of us for all time.
Every day we must make an effort to capture the freshness and excitement, as though God spoke to us and commanded us “this very day.”
Your turn: What is there in your life that has become routine? In your relationship with God? With your family? Think of something you can do this week to regain the excitement and bring renewed energy to the important things in life.