Parashat Vayelech

Parashat Vayelech

Deuteronomy 31:1–30

The Parshah of Vayelech (“and he went”) recounts the events of Moses’ last day of earthly life. “I am one hundred and twenty years old today,” he says to the people, “and I can no longer go forth and come in.” He transfers the leadership to Joshua, and writes (or concludes writing) the Torah in a scroll which he entrusts to the Levites for safekeeping in the Ark of the Covenant.

Moshe puts the Torah into writing, and commands them the mitzvah of Hakhel (“gathering”): every seven years, on the Sukkot festival following the Shemittah year, “Gather the people together, men, women and babies, and your stranger that is within your gates”; the king shall then read from the Torah to them, “that they may hear and that they may learn, and fear the Lord your God, and observe to do all the words of this Torah.”

It is the time of Moses to endure his farewell to the people before they enter the land: he strengthens them who will not be seen in the war over the land because the Lord is with them, and especially strengthens Joshua Ben-Nun – who is appointed to continue his journey into the land.
Moses remarks all the things he said to the people by heart: all the commandments and warnings, and a command that once every seven years, at Sukkot, all the people will gather to the place of the temple and these things will be read in their ears, this is the commandment of the audience.
Then God revealed to Moses and told him that in the future the people would turn their backs on the commandments, so he was commanded to write poetry to them for generations, (which will appear in the next parable) aimed at reminding them of God’s Word.

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