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Surely, this Instruction which I enjoin upon you this day is not too baffling for you, nor is it beyond reach. It is not in the heavens, that you should say, “Who among us can go up to the heavens and get it for us and impart it to us, that we may observe it?” Neither is it beyond the sea, that you should say, “Who among us can cross to the other side of the sea and get it for us and impart it to us, that we may observe it?” No, the thing is very close to you, in your mouth and in your heart, to observe it.
— Moses, Deut. 30, 11-14
When I first read this Bible portion, I was deeply moved and encouraged. Even a novice like me, who was still getting her feet wet in the Jewish tradition, could count on exploring and understanding the Bible. A book that had always seemed unapproachable and difficult to parse was intended to be accessible! I didn’t have to be an observant Jew (although what I do observe helps me), a Hebrew or Biblical scholar. I simply had to be willing to dive deep with my Torah study friends to see what G-d wanted to teach me and desired for me to know. Grasping that truth has been very gratifying.
But in addition to realizing how I could pursue understanding the Torah, I realized that, in truth, it was a guideline for living my life, not just in a general sense, but in every moment of my life. And I don’t mean just applying the laws of Torah to my concerns and decisions, but to believe that life, in the best sense of the word, offers me the opportunity to learn and grow in so many ways.