Parashat Hukkat

When To Talk And When To Act

Comparing Moshe to Yiftah raises questions about when we should be people of speech and when we should be people of action.

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In a fascinating twist, his tragedy comes about not through anything he does, but through something he says--his vow to offer the first thing to come out of his door to God. It almost seems as if the story is telling us that Yiftah was wrong to try to become a man of words, to "open his mouth to God" and express a religious sentiment, and that his real role, the role that he is now called upon to play, that needs to be played, and in which he can succeed, is that of a man of action.

As Israel now faces a brutal, implacable enemy, with whom we have tried to talk, unsuccessfully, for years, I pray that we, and our leaders, will have the wisdom to know when to talk, and when to act.

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Rabbi Shimon Felix

Rabbi Shimon Felix is the Israel Director of the Bronfman Youth Fellowships in Israel. He lives with his family in Jerusalem, and has taught in a wide variety of educational frameworks in Israel and abroad.