Today Is the Day!September 14, 2022 - 12:00 am
Then Moses and the Levitical priests said to all Israel, “Be silent, Israel, and listen! You have now become the people of the LORD your God.” — Deuteronomy 27:9
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.
This is a time of year for lots of new beginnings. As a mother of school-aged children, I am especially aware of this. The new school year has just begun, with all the excitement, confidence, and optimism that this brings. Their backpacks are fully stocked with everything they need. Their notebooks and school supplies are still organized.
At the same time, as a faith community, we are getting ready for Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, which is right around the corner. The month leading up to Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, is called Elul. The entire month is a time devoted to taking stock of the past year and getting ourselves ready to take on new commitments for the year that lies ahead.
After an enjoyable, yet busy summer, we enter this time of year with an atmosphere of excitement and newness all around us. Which got me thinking, what if we felt this same sense of optimism, excitement, and personal challenge every day throughout the year? Imagine how productive we’d be if we saw every day as the first day of a great new undertaking.
Today Is the Day!
We see this lesson in this week’s Torah portion: “Then Moses and the Levitical priests said to all Israel, ‘Be silent, Israel, and listen! You have now become the people of the LORD your God.’”
In the original Hebrew, what is translated here as “now” is hayom hazeh, literally, “on this day” or “today.” (See Deuteronomy 27:9 in the ESV, KJV, or NASB translations.) In other words, Moses was telling the children of Israel, “Today you have become the people of the LORD your God.” Today is the day!
The rabbis in the Talmud point out the obvious: “Did they become God’s people on that day? Was that the day they received the law on Sinai? This day was 40 years after the Exodus! Rather, this teaches us that God’s word is so precious to His people, that every day is like the first day they received it” (Talmud, Berachot 63b).
When Moses said, “Today you have become God’s people,” he was teaching us a lesson for all time. We must wake up every morning with the excitement and motivation of the very first day, as though today is the first day we have been called into His service. Today is always THE DAY!
Your turn: Are there ways of serving God that you have thought about but haven’t started yet? Today is the day for a new beginning!