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Read between the lines

Hear Israel, today you cross the Jordan… (9:1) שְׁמַע יִשְׂרָאֵל אַתָּה עֹבֵר הַיּוֹם אֶת הַיַּרְדֵּן…
In this verse where Moshe is telling the Jewish People that they are crossing over into Eretz Yisrael, the Ohr Hachaim explains carefully what Moshe was really trying to say to his flock.
שְׁמַע יִשְׂרָאֵל – ‘Listen Israel’ –  was encouraging them to pay attention careful to what he is about to imply.
אַתָּה עֹבֵר – ‘You are crossing over’ – but I am not crossing over.  Moshe had been told to stop praying that he would enter into Eretz Yisrael because his request could not be heeded, but Moshe was imploring the Jewish People to pray on his behalf.  However, the Jewish People did not understand the full intention behind Moshe’s words and failed to pray for him[1].
Many lessons can be learnt from this Ohr Hachaim but perhaps one important message is that it is essential to be sensitive to people’s needs and sometimes one needs to read between the lines and listen to what they are really trying to say.  Whether it is a friend who is too embarrassed to admit that he needs financial help, or a new mother who feels she is not coping, many times a serious cry for help will masquerade itself as a light conversation with a friend.


[1] Devarim Rabba (3:11)

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