sh’-MA yis-ra-AYL a-TAH o-VAYR ha-YOM et ha-yar-DAYN la-VO la-RE-shet go-YIM g’-do-LEEM va-a-tzu-MEEM mi-ME-ka a-REEM g’-do-LOT uv-tzu-ROT ba-sha-MA-yim
The word for ‘Hebrew’, Ivrit (עברית), comes from the root avar (עבר), ‘to cross over,’ which appears in this verse. Moshe tells the people that they are about to cross into the land on the other side of the Jordan. Similarly, our forefather Avraham was called Ha’Ivri (Genesis 14:13) because he came from the other side of the river, and because his monotheistic views were on the “other side” compared to those of the rest of the world. Avraham’s heirs still carry the responsibility of being the world’s moral compass, reminding others not to necessarily conform to popular norms and mores, but to do only what is right. Accordingly, the State of Israel has adopted this responsibility as its mission, to do what is right among the international community of nations even when it is not popular. Indeed, Israel comes under great scrutiny by the nations of the world. It is often viewed as being on the “other side,” as a result of its historic mission to live by the principles of the Bible.