The Jews are instructed that on the day they cross the Jordan river and enter their new land, they are to gather large stones, plaster them, and engrave upon them the entire Torah. These instructions are given twice in short succession, with slightly different wording (27:2 and 27:4-8), but why?

Rav S. R. Hirsch posits that the first instructions include the words “and it will be, on the day that you cross the Jordan…” because they were instructed to begin preparing the stones before they even cross the Jordan. It is only by virtue of the preparation that they merited to cross the Jordan in the first place. This instruction speaks to the power of mindset, intentional preparation, and concrete action in helping us achieve actual change.

As we near the Yamim Noraim (high holidays), this lesson is especially relevant for us; as we seek to improve our lives, the first step needs to be a change in our approach, ensuring that we give proper thought to our actions.