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  • Vaetchanan 2020

    The Haftarot for the next seven weeks, which finish on the Shabbat before Rosh Hashanah, are called the ‘Seven of Consolation'. The first, from the Book of Isaiah, begins with the words “Nachamu Nachamu Ami – Comfort, comfort My people”.

    Last week we were preparing ourselves for the sadness of Tisha B'Av, for sitting on the floor to mourn the loss of the Temple in Jerusalem and the tragedies that have unfolded over the past 2,000 years.

  • Vaetchanan 2019

    Rabbi Jonathan Sacks raised an interesting question when in conversation with the philosopher David Brooks on a BBC series about moral challenges of the 21st century. How can we reconcile the legal, halakhic content of much of the book of Devarim with the passionate declaration of love by God for the Jewish people and the love that is required from the Jewish people by God? How do love and rules go together?

  • Vaetchanan 2018

    In this week’s parsha Moses tells the Jewish people that he will not be allowed to enter the Land of Israel and will instead ascend a mountain to see the Promised Land. He predicts that in future generations the Jewish people will be exiled from their land and scattered but from there they will seek God and take on the mitzvot.

  • Vaetchanan 2017

    VAETCHANAN ‘ And I pleaded/sought favour’ Deuteronomy 3,23 -7,11. We start today’s sedra by completing Moses’s review of the Israelites’ journey to the Land of Israel.  Moses stresses to the Israelites the importance of keeping God's commandments when they enter the Land; he repeats the 10 Commandments and utters the Shema.

  • Vaetchanan 2014

    This week’s Sidra’s, Ve’etchanan, contains many details including the fundamentals of Judaism, such as the Shema and a repetition of the Ten Commandments. Although this Sidra only lists Ten Commandments, we know that there are actually 613 mitzvot to observe. A person might feel overwhelmed by the vast number of mitzvot and not know where to begin.

  • Vaetchanan 5773

    The Sidra which we read this morning is arguably the most important and beautiful portion of the year. It contains the 10 Commandments and the first paragraph of the Shema, as well as some other notable statements and commandments. It is part of Moses’ farewell speech to the Israelites. He explains to the Israelites that he has been refused entry to the land. He, therefore, warned them, in advance, that they must adhere to the commandments meticulously, without adding or diminishing from them.

  • Vaetchanan 2013

    This Shabbat is known as Shabbat Nachamu, Shabbat of consolation or comfort. This week, besides reading the Torah portion of Va’etchanan, the Haftorah is read from the 40th chapter of the book of Isaiah, which begins with Hashem’s words, “Nachamu, Nachamu Ami...”, “Comfort ye, comfort ye my people”. But it is Moshe’s pleas with Hashem to be allowed into Eretz Yisroel that provides no comfort for him. Moshe’s fate is sealed when his sister Miriam dies. The well in the desert providing water for the Bnei Yisroel dries up.

  • Vaetchanan 5772

    The meaning of the name of today's Sidra is I prayed. The first passage contains Moses reports that, after the conquest of the territories on the Eastern side of the Jordan, he made the final very personal plea to the Almighty to allow him to enter the land. He thought that, since he had been given the privilege to witness the beginning of the conquest, the decree would be rescinded and he would now be given the privilege of seeing his mission to the very end. However, God refused him permission even to mention the issue again.

  • Vaetchanan 2012

    The phrase “at that time” occurs 12 times in the opening parshyot of Devarim compared with only three appearances up to that time! It is used to forewarn that the occasion will be clarified later in the text. Friends of mine like to predict the time of the end of davening. The benchmark for Shabbat Morning appears to noon, whether in an Englischer shul or in one with a more European heritage.

  • Vaetchanan

    Shabbat Shalom

    Tony, boy did you pick the wrong person to do this particular d’var Torah.  After reading the parsha, I felt humbled (and my wife says that I have plenty to feel humbled about) and inadequate to the task.

    Moses prayed 515 prayers - the numerical value (gematria) of Va'etchanan, "and I beseeched" - to be allowed to enter the land.   I didn’t manage quite as many, but anyhow, here goes …


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