Summary of Parshat Va'etchanan
Summary of this week's Torah portion: In Parshat Va'etchanan (Deuteronomy 3:23-7:11) the Torah continues to recount Moses' final speech to the Children of Israel. He tells the people that he had implored Hashem to allow him to enter the land of Israel, but Hashem refused his request. Moses then continues to exhort and warn the people to obey the Torah and its commandments, neither adding nor subtracting from its mitzvot. They are told to always remember the incredible revelation they experienced at Mt. Sinai, passing that memory on from generation to generation. Moses warns the Jewish people of the prolonged exile that they will experience if they forsake the Torah, and how Hashem will eventually bring them back to the land of Israel. After setting aside the three cities of refuge on the eastern side of the Jordan River, Moses repeats the Ten Commandments and further describes Hashem's revelation at Mt. Sinai, while at the same time continually warns the Jewish people to maintain their observance of Hashem's Torah. Moses teaches them the first paragraph of the Shema, the fundamental passage which we recite twice a day expressing our belief that Hashem is one and stating our commitment to love and serve Him. Once again, Moses exhorts the people to trust in Hashem and remain faithful to the Torah, and to beware of the pitfalls of prosperity and success. After commanding the Jewish people to teach their children about the miraculous exodus from Egypt, the portion concludes with some further commandments and warnings concerning the forthcoming conquest of the land of Israel.
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