Summary of Parshat Nitzavim-Vayelech
Summary of this weeks double Torah portion: Parshat Nitzavim (Deuteronomy 29:9-30:20) begins as Moses gathers together every member of the Jewish people for the last time in his life to initiate them into the eternal covenant with Hashem. Moses warns them not to be tempted by the evil ways of the idolaters who live around them, and to avoid rationalizing inappropriate conduct by saying that Hashem will forgive them, for maintaining such a belief is the ultimate source of our destruction and exile. Although they may sin, eventually the Jewish people will repent and return to the Torah. Hashem will usher in the Messianic era, when we will all return to the land of Israel and the Torahs many wonderful blessings will be fulfilled. Moses tells the people not to fear that they will be unable to live up to the Torahs expectations, assuring them that the mitzvot are neither distant nor inaccessible; a life of Torah is well within everyones reach. The portion concludes with an exhortation to choose the Torah and life over the dismal alternative of evil and death.
Parshat Vayelech (ibid. 31:1-30) opens with Moses walking through the Jewish camp on the final day of his life to bid farewell to his beloved people. After Moses teaches them the mitzvah of hakhel, the once in seven years gathering of the entire nation to hear the king read certain passages from the Torah, Hashem addresses Moses and Joshua in the Tent of Meeting, commanding them to copy over the Torah and to continue teaching it to the Jewish people. The portion concludes with Moses concern that the Jewish people will stray from the Torah after his death, causing them to be punished.
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