Nelly Shulman
Nelly Shulman

The chain of trust

Our weekly Torah portion Nitzavim (Deuteronomy 29:13-14) carries the famous verses, “I make this covenant, with its sanctions, not with you alone, but both with those who are standing here with us this day before the LORD our God and with those who are not with us here this day.” The covenant is made with not only the people leaving Egypt but also with their descendants.

I have always had difficulty with this verse. After all, seeing is believing, and it is difficult to comprehend something if we have no direct experience of it. When we buy something online, there are pictures. In many cases, however, they do not fully represent reality. If we trust, albeit somewhat, an online retailer, why should we trust God less?

Noticing this potential difficulty, Sforno explains that the key is not the blind trust but the education.

“You will therefore have to explain to these unborn generations in due course that you yourselves only received this land on the understanding that subsequent generations of Jews would remain loyal to the terms of your acceptance.”

We cannot order the people to trust, but we can only educate them, hoping to create trust.

About the Author
Nelly Shulman is a journalist and writer currently based in Berlin. She is an author of four popular historical novels in the Russian language. She is working on the fifth novel in this series and on her first English-language novel, a historical thriller set during the Siege of Leningrad. She a Hawthornden Fellow and an alumna of the Nachum Goldmann Fellowship.
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