Have you ever started a new book, the last in a series
you’ve been reading for a while? You’re invested and
this is the beginning of your final time in that world.
Well here we are at the beginning of the fifth of five.
It opens like a story arced TV show. Previously in the
Torah as Moses recounts everything that led to this
moment. There’s veiled scolding for transgressions.
We recount the time Moses said, thirty-nine years ago
when the people were first at the foot of the promised
land, I’ll turn this Exodus right around. And he made
good on that promise. The family vacation was
cancelled and we realize, these decades later, those
people whose feet touched Egyptian soil, are not the
same people who will cross the Jordan. How’s that
for follow-through parenting? Oh, Moses I love, as a
poet, that this book, this chapter, this parsha is called
Words, and that you’ll spend most of it saying them.
I am a person of the words just as we are a people
of the Books that contain them. This oral history
your final classroom, reads like a spoken word event.
Did the Israelites snap when you showed how God
multiplied them? You are today as many as there
are stars in the heavens. We’ve got a population
explosion on our hands and that’s a promise kept
if I’ve ever seen one. I know I would have snapped
at every pause out of habit. Or maybe I did. I keep
forgetting I was there. I could describe what I was
wearing, but mundane details aren’t what this is about.
Watch out Canaanites! As soon as Moses gets done
with this piece, we’re coming for you, or at least
the land you sit in. That’s our other promise.
I’m going to read this book slow. Not more than one
chapter a week. I have a feeling when it’s all over
I’m going to start the whole series again.