Text: Deuteronomy 3:23 – 7:11
In Parashat (Torah Portion) Vaetchanan, despite Moses’ frustration that he will never see the Promised Land himself, he diligently reminds the Israelites how to guarantee that they will be able to conquer and survive in the new land: follow God’s laws faithfully, remember their history, do not be tempted to follow other gods, even though those other gods may have more concrete forms while the Israelites’ God only appears as a distant pillar of fire. Moses reiterates the Ten Commandments, and repeats the Sh’ma and V’ahavta for the community to remember, as they enter the new land, that the God who gave them the land is One, and that we are commanded to love that God with all our hearts and souls. Following the commandments will bring success, security, and blessings – ignoring them for the temptations of other gods will lead to failure, uncertainty, and curses. Moses offers the people one last reminder of who they are before they leave him to conquer the Land of Canaan under the leadership of Joshua: God is faithful to those who are faithful to Him, and those who hate God will find themselves met with destruction wherever they go. Therefore, the message Moses sends is to love God, and the rest will follow.
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Parashat Va'etchanan: Print