Parashat Vaetchanan / פרשת וָאֶתְחַנַּן
Read on 24 July 2021 (15 Av 5781).
Parashat Vaetchanan is the 45th weekly Torah portion in the annual Jewish cycle of Torah reading.
Torah Portion: Deuteronomy 3:23-7:11
Parashat Vaetchanan tells how Moses asked to see the Land of Israel, made arguments to obey the law, recounted setting up the Cities of Refuge, recited the Ten Commandments and the Shema, and gave instructions for the Israelites' conquest of the Land.
Moses again tells of beseeching Hashem to let him cross the Jordan and be in the Promised Land. Again Hashem turns him down and tells him he just needs to accept the judgment.
Moses then tells the Children of Israel that the Torah they have is perfect and shouldn’t add or subtract to its precepts as this is Hashem’s Teaching. They should also not worship any creatures or heavenly bodies. He warns them that later generations will succumb to idolatry and be cast out of the Land, but will eventually repent and return.
Moses then sets up three cities of refuge on the other side of the Jordan in the territories of Gad, Reuben and Manasseh.
Next is the repetition of the Ten Commandments. A difference between here and their introduction in Exodus refers to Shabbat. In Exodus, the Children of Israel are told to remember Shabbat, here this new generation is told to safeguard, more of a negative commandment.
Moses reiterated that the people stated that “we will do and we will hear” as their commitment before receiving the Ten Commandments at Sinai. Moses tells them that they shall live the commandments and they will prolong their days in the land they will posess.
Next is the repeat of the Shema and the Ve’Ahavta, the first paragraph of the Shema. Following that, Moses warns the people not to allow the prosperity that they will achieve make them forget Torah. They should also teach Torah to their children.
Moses assures the Children of Israel that when they do battle with the seven Canaanite nations, even though they are mightier and more powerful, they will win. He also warns them not to intermingle or intermarry with them, lest they adopt their ways. They should destroy the symbols of their idolatry.
Shabbat Nachamu / שַׁבָּת נַחֲמוּ
Shabbat Nachamu (Shabbat after Tish'a B'Av (Shabbat of Consolation)) for Hebrew Year 5781 begins at sundown on Friday, 23 July 2021 and ends at nightfall on Saturday, 24 July 2021.
Shabbat Nachamu ("Sabbath of comfort/ing) takes its name from the haftarah from Isaiah in the Book of Isaiah 40:1-26 that speaks of "comforting" the Jewish people for their suffering. It the first of seven haftarahs of consolation leading up to the holiday of Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year.