Deuteronomy: Renewal of the Sinai Covenant
Covenant & Conversation: A Weekly Reading of the Jewish Bible
This collection makes Rabbi Jonathan Sacks’ brilliant essays on the weekly Torah portion available in book form for the first time. Rabbi Sacks fuses Jewish tradition, Western philosophy and literature to present a highly developed understanding of the human condition under God’s sovereignty. This final volume in the five-volume series includes several concise essays for each portion of Deuteronomy.
With the book of Deuteronomy, the entire biblical project becomes lucid and reaches its culmination. Deuteronomy is the last act of the Jewish people’s drama before becoming a nation in its own land, and it forms the context of all that follows. It is the deepest and most remarkable statement of what Judaism is about, and it is no less relevant today than it was then. If anything, it is more so.
…Deuteronomy is in essence a programme for the creation of a moral society in which righteousness is the responsibility of all. The good society was to be, within the limits of the world as it was thirty-three centuries ago, an inclusive if not an entirely egalitarian one. Time and again we are told that social joy must embrace the widow, the orphan, the stranger, and the Levite, people without independent status or means. It is to be one nation under God.
How can we create structures of cooperation in a world of conflicting human wills?… Get individuals to come together in a pledge, a bond, of mutual fidelity and collective responsibility. This is no longer a world of separate “I”s in the pursuit of self-interest. It is a world of a collective “We,” in which we agreed to merge our identity into something larger than us, which defines who we are and which obligates us to a set of undertakings by which we freely choose to be bound. This is the world of covenant, and it is what the Torah is about.
- Winner, National Jewish Book Awards