Kenneth Cohen

The Covenant

After the ceremony on Mount Gerizim and Mount Eival, the Jewish people renewed their covenant with Moshe Rabbeinu to accept the precepts of the Torah. The ceremony was most impressive. There were six tribes on each mountain and the Leviim down below. The blessings were given on Mount Gerizim, and the curses on Mount Eival. The entire nation answered Amen to all that they heard. They affirmed their resolve to cherish and keep the covenant under all conditions that would confront them.

As the High Holidays approach, we must realize that we are part of that covenant. It is our duty to uphold it, just as our ancestors did over three thousand years ago. The Jewish people are like no other nation on earth. Never in human history has any nation had a rebirth after being banished from their land and scattered all over the world. The secret of our survival is that there were always Jews that maintained the sanctity of that covenant.

Rav Yakov Emden, one of the great sages of the eighteenth century, said that a greater miracle than the splitting of the Red Sea, is how Jews continued to exist under the worst conditions. Today, we see our rebirth in a miraculous way as we see how the State of Israel has emerged. Nearly seven million Jews live here. We are reaping the benefits of the adherence to that covenant. We must continue to cherish it, and instill the love for G-d and His Torah, to our children and grandchildren, and all of the Jewish people, wherever they may be.

About the Author
Rabbi Cohen has been a Torah instructor at Machon Meir, Jerusalem, for over twenty years while also teaching a Talmud class in the Shtieblach of Old Katamon. Before coming to Israel, he was the founding rabbi of Young Israel of Century City, Los Angeles. He recently published a series of Hebrew language-learning apps, which are available at
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