WWOT – Weekly Words of Torah: Parashat Devarim

To inspire, guide, engage, enrich, and empower Conservative Jewish Women
By Rabbi Ellen S. Wolintz-Fields, Executive Director, Women’s League For Conservative Judaism

This Shabbat, we begin a new book of the Torah, the fifth and final book, Sefer Devarim, the book of Deuteronomy, with the Torah reading by the same name, Parashat Devarim. The book of Deuteronomy is also known as Mishnei Torah, or the Repetition of the Torah, because it contains duplicate contents found in other parts of the Torah, although 70 of the 100 laws found in Deuteronomy are not found in the earlier books of the Torah. Why the repetition? The Torah never repeats itself without teaching something new. Furthermore, we all hear and learn differently, and so, perhaps, when the Torah repeats itself, we comprehend the information differently. In addition, each person is different, so, each time we come to hear the words, we come with a new and unique mindset and understanding.

What can this teach us about leadership? When someone wants to do something, and one says – we have always done it that way – one can say – yes, but we have changed, so the way will look different, because we are different. Or, we are different, so let’s try it differently. But, of course, change is hard, and we do not always like to change. However, repetition can give us new insights. So, even if something has been done before, try it again.  Perhaps a new perspective, a new day, a new way of saying it, will bring a new light to the surface. After all, that is why we can watch reruns on television and cable, and why stories are retold in different ways in the Torah – to see situations in new ways. Let us be cognizant of how we each may change because of our own personal situations, and so may see the same event, situation, differently than we previously did, and also unique from our fellow sisterhood member. Shabbat Shalom!

WWOT, Weekly Words of Torah will be a brief paragraph prepared weekly by our new Executive Director, Rabbi Ellen S. Wolintz-Fields, presented in our “This Week @ Women’s League.” WWOT will provide meaningful thoughts related to the Weekly Torah Portion, an event on the Calendar, a Prayer, or something of Jewish interest, to inspire, guide, engage, enrich, and empower Conservative Jewish Women. If you have any particular interest in future topics, or want to send Rabbi Wolintz-Fields an email, you can contact her at ewolintz-fields@wlcj.org. Read previous Weekly Words of Torah here.