Just The One – Shechem II
“It shall be that when God, your Lord, brings you to the land to which you come, to possess it, then you shall deliver the blessing on Mount Gerizim and the curse on Mount Ebal. Are they not on the other side of the Jordan, far from Gilgal, near the Plains of Moreh? (Deuteronomy 11:29-30)
Where is the Plain of Moreh? “Abram passed into the land as far as the site of Shechem, until the Plain of Moreh.” (Genesis 12:6) Just as the Plain of Moreh of Abram is Shechem, so too, here, the Plains of Moreh are Shechem. (Sotah 33)
Why not simply say “Shechem?” There was a man named Moreh and the place is named for him. (Nachmanides, Genesis 12:6) Why would the Torah possibly choose to identify the place where one of the most important ceremonies in Jewish history would take place by the name of an individual, rather than its well-known name of Shechem?
The first promise of the Land to Abram was given in the Plain of Moreh: “God appeared to Abram and said, ‘To your offspring I will give this land.’” (Genesis 12:7) The story of the Children of Israel and their connection to the land began in a small place with God and only one man. The same idea of “One Man With One Heart” that we find at the Splitting of the Sea, Sinai, and Crossing the Jordan. It is the same idea of only one man that begins the Ten Statements that open addressing the singular individual. Our history of success is always associated with the One Man. Our failures, especially those in Shechem, the place of division (See ‘Healing Old Wounds‘) always began when we forget the One Man.
Our respect for Just The One is a badge of honor: The world ignores the fate of just one Israeli soldier kidnapped by Hamas more than four years ago and held hostage without any access to the Red Cross or any of the other “humanitarian” organizations. After all, the world must worry about the broad political picture of resolving conflict in the Middle East.
We, Jews all over the world, proudly wear our badge of honor, that we fight for Just The One. We wear badges that declare our belief that there is no “broad political picture” that can ignore Just The One.
It is Just The One that separates us from our enemies: While they are willing to sacrifice their children and the lives of so many of their own, ignoring Just The One, we stand up to the world and declare our commitment to Just the One. This is our battle with the world. This has been our message to all our enemies over the ages.
Just The One is also meant as an internal declaration and commitment. If we ignore Just The One in our communities, the suffering boy, the problem child, the rebellious teenager, the confused, the lost Jew, the poor man and the lonely woman, our declarations of Just The One ring hollow. People will continue to belittle our concerns for Jonathan Pollard and Gilad Shalit as simple political ploys.
The world waits to see if our cry for Just The One is as powerful internally as it is externally.
The covenant of the Blessings and Curses begins with Just The One. A place named for one person. A covenant that began with an individual. A covenant that is still ours and still calling. We can speak to a lonely person with the awareness of Just The One in the merit of Gilad. We can spend time helping the mother of a troubled child with the awareness of Just The One in the merit of Jonathan Pollard. We can commit ourselves to express the Covenant of Just The One in all our human interactions, with each and every person and demonstrate that our badge of Just The One resonates in all we do. It is real and alive.
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