This Torah reading always proceeds the holiday of Rosh HaShannah. Although the Biblical name of the festival is the “day of sounding” or “memorial of sounding” the sages of old gave a new name to the holiday to emphasize what the sounding of the Shofar reminds the hearer of, namely the Lord’s provision. For it is through this provision that His people can have victory. Although there are many aspects to victory, one is to obey the word of God. At the end of this week’s parashah Moses writes,
“This command which I command you today is not too wonderful for you and not too far from you. It is not in the heavens saying who will go up for us towards the heavens and will take it for us so we can hear it and do it? Nor is it across the sea saying who will cross over for us to the other side and will take it for us so we can hear it and do it? For it is very close to you this word in your mouth and in your heart to do it.” Deuteronomy 30:11-14
While the Torah is available to humanity, it does not mean that one is able to do the word of God in his natural condition. Rather one needs to change. It is precisely God’s provision of first the Messiah and then the Holy Spirit that enables the believer to obey the will of the Lord. It is not a coincidence that the Shofar was heard not only at the giving of the Torah, but also at the giving of the Holy Spirit; and the Shofar will also sound when Messiah comes to gather up believers both dead and alive and provide them with a new body that will allow them to manifest their victory over death and sin.
Shabbat Shalom and Happy Rosh HaShannah