Parsha Page – Vayeilech; 9/15/18

Shabbat Shalom! This is our first parsha in 5779. This week’s parsha, Vayeilech, begins with Moses reiterating to the people that he is old, and will not be able to cross into the Promised Land with them. He reminds them that God has appointed Joshua to lead the people, and that God will deliver the land to the Israelites. Moses tells the people to “be strong and resolute”, which will be an oft-repeated phrase in the next book of the Tanakh, Joshua. Moses instructs the people not to be afraid, that God will protect them. Moses writes the Torah and gives it to the Levites. He then delivers the commandment to celebrate the Feast of Booths (Sukkot) as a time for gathering the community together and reminding them of the story of the Exodus and wandering in the desert. God informs Moses that the people will forsake God in the land, and God will punish them. God says to Moses that he should write a poem and deliver it to the people, so that when they do forsake God it can be repeated back to them as a reminder of God’s love and mercy.

This Shabbat is also called Shabbat Shuva, which means the Shabbat of turning. It is the term for the Shabbat between Rosh HaShana and Yom Kippur. At this time of the yamim noraim, the days of awe, we wish a chatima tova, a good inscription, to you and your family.

QUESTIONS FOR REFLECTION:

  1. Why is Moses telling the people to “be strong”?
  2. What do you think the Israelites are feeling now? How would you feel in their position?
  3. Why is it important to have reminders of God in our lives?