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Parsha Points- Va'etchanan

Our Jewish calendar is a curriculum in emotional growth!  We have just experienced an intense three week lesson, leading up to Tisha B’Av, where we reflect on our People’s catastrophic events.  This Shabbat Nachamu, Shabbat of Comfort, marks the first of seven Shabbatot with Haftarot from Isaiah, offering us relief so that we can herald in Rosh HaShanah (in seven weeks!).   

Parashat Va’etchanan brings solace as it contains some of our essential texts and collective memories. It  opens with Moshe pleading to G-d to allow him to enter Eretz Yisrael, but G-d refuses the request, allowing him only to see Israel from a mountain-top in the distance.  He then bids Bnei Yisrael to follow the mitzvot exactly to be worthy of receiving the Land of Israel, which G-d is giving them, and he designates three cities of refuge for safety to those who may have accidentally killed another. (3:23-4:1-43)  Moshe reminds Bnei Yisrael about the Mount Sinai experience and repeats the Ten Commandments. He also recites the Sh’ma Yisrael and the V’ahavta, which is familiar to us all, like good “comfort food”.  (5:1-6:25)  Moshe warns the people not to commit idolatry by worshipping other gods and to show their love for HaShem by keeping the mitzvot.  He recounts the Exodus and reminds Bnei Yisrael that G-d liberated us from slavery to be Holy, Treasured and Chosen—Am Kadosh, Am Segulah and Am Nivchar. (7:1-11)  May this bring us each a measure of comfort!

Shabbat Nachamu Shalom! 

Karen Knie-Cahana




Tue, 9 August 2022 12 Av 5782