Weekly Reading Insights: VaYelech 5765


Overview of the Weekly Reading: Vayelech

To be read on 5 Tishrei 5766 (Oct.8)

Shabbat Shuva

Torah: Deut. 31:1-31:30
Haftorah: Hosea 14:2-10, Joel 2:15-27 (for "Return, O Israel")

Vayelech is the 9th Reading out of 11 in Deut. and 52nd overall, and 53rd out of 54 in overall length.

Vayelech (Deut. 31:1-30) opens with Moshe telling the Jews that he has reached the age of 120 and will not be entering the Land of Israel with them. He summons Joshua in front of the Jewish people, telling them that he will lead them into the land, and that they should be strong and brave. Moshe tells them about Hakhel, that at every seven years, during the festival of Sukkot, they should gather the men, women and children together, and read the specified portions from the Torah. Moshe wrote 13 Torah scrolls, one for each of the tribes, and one for the Ark.


From the holy Zohar, teachings of Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai (Z:52-65/VaYelech)

And He did more good for them in that] three holy siblings walked amongst them. Who were they? They were Moses, Aaron and Miriam. In their merit G-d gave Israel presents from the spiritual realms [the Manna, the Clouds of Glory, and the well of Miriam, which nourished and prepared them physically, enabling them to absorb the Torah.

For the full article, click to the "Weekly Torah" section on our KabbalaOnline site.

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From the holy Ari, Rabbi Yitzchak Luria of Safed (A:52-65/VaYelech)

At first, the good [daat] and the evil [daat] were intermixed because of the sins of Adam and Abel, but afterwards this was rectified and Moses was born embodying the good and holy [daat] alone. This is the mystical meaning of the verse [describing Moses' birth:] "And she [Moses' mother] saw him, that he was good." (Ex. 2:2)

For the full article, click to the "Weekly Torah" section on our KabbalaOnline site.

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From the Rabbeinu Bechaya (S:52-65/VaYelech)

We also find in Psalms 92, the hymn dedicated by David to the Shabbat, that he speaks about the righteous who will flourish like the palm tree (presumably after the seventh millennium).… The mystical dimension of the commandment of Hakhel is that all people who exist at that time are called to appear before G-d, the King of the universe. This is why this commandment had to be performed by the king.

For the full article, click to the "Weekly Torah" section on our KabbalaOnline site.


"You have been rebellious with G-d." (31:27)
It doesn't say "against G-d," but "with G-d." With every improper thing we do we cause G-d to be a partner. This is especially true when we do these things in the name of a commandment or turn a bad deed into a commandment!


from the Chabad Master series, produced by Rabbi Yosef Marcus for

www.ascentofsafed.com and www.kabbalaonline.org

MOSHIACH THIS WEEK (M:52-65/Vayelech)

If Moshiach should appear during the days between Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur, it is conceivable that we will eat and drink on Yom Kippur if it falls during the seven-day dedication of the Third Holy Temple. This was the case with the First Temple, whose dedication began on the eighth of Tishrei, and the people of that time ate and drank on Yom Kippur.

[Reprinted with permission from L'Chaim Magazine (www.lchaim.org).]

An essay from Rabbi Shaul Yosef Leiter, director of Ascent

(for a free weekly email subscription, click here) (W:52-65/VaYelech)

In the Musaf holiday prayer of Rosh Hashanna, we pray, 'Today is the birth day of the world. Today He will call all the creations of the world to stand in judgment'. Jews each year celebrate the birthday of the world on the day that Adam and Eve were created, the 6th day of creation-and not the first when all of creation began. And just as Adam and Eve sinned and were judged on that first day, so each year again we are judged for our past actions and for our preparedness for the coming year.

The section continues, 'Perhaps as children, perhaps as servants. If as children, have mercy on us as a father has mercy on his children. If as servants our eyes are turned to You until You will be gracious to us and bring forth our judgment as the light. Oh Awesome and Holy One.' This is akin to the prayer 'Avinu Malkainu'-'Our Father, our King'-written by Rabbi Akiva that we begin saying on Rosh Hashanna and continue through Yom Kippur (except for Shabbat).

As children we expect G-d to have mercy on us. As servants we expect that He will graciously give us a just verdict. What does G-d as our Father and our King expect from us? What should we be thinking when we say the words, our Father our King from now until Yom Kippur?
While what a child does is important, a father is more interested in his child's intentions. If a parent knows that a child's (even an adult child) intentions are pure, then he knows he has succeeded. Even if some things need to be improved, the corrections are easy because the core is good. In Torah terms this is called a 'pure heart'-lev tahor.

A king demands the opposite. He does not care at all what the person is thinking. What a king demands is action: "Do what I say and do it now." In Torah terms this is called a 'clean garment'-levush naki. While the soul is the source of our intentions and motivation, it is naked. The soul's garments or expressions are our thought, speech and action. We choose to think, speak and act properly or improperly.

As we go through the next seven days until Yom Kippur, each day has the ability to correct all of our inappropriate actions from last year, and bring strength and blessings for each of our weekdays of next year-remember Avinu Malkainu. We must check ourselves and then check again that we have a pure heart (good intentions), and clean garments (appropriate actions).

This Shabbat is called 'Shabbat Shuva' after the first word of the Haftorah, and because it is the Shabbat during the seven days of Teshuvah between Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur. This Shabbat we read the Torah portion 'Vayelech Moshe'-'Moses walked'. The verse does not specify where Moshe walked. The Toldot points out that these were Moshe's last minutes before he passed away, and the Torah says he was 'walking'. Even to the end Moshe was agile to do
G-d's will. Slowing down with age is a perception, not a reality. The Lubavitcher Rebbe said that it is hard to imagine the great levels Moshe reached in his last days. He 'walked' to higher and higher spiritual levels!

On the verse (31/18) 'I (Anochi) will certainly hide My face', the Baal Shem Tov connects this to the first words of the Ten commandments, where the word Anochi is also used, 'I (Anochi) am G-d your Lord'. G-d is always with us, even when He appears to be hidden and even with many layers of concealment! Just because our lives our complicated does not mean G-d has left us!

Shabbat shalom and blessings for a good and sweet year, Shaul

P.S. Please also read my weekly Shabbat Law, below.)

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