2. Double Parasha 52 Nitzavim & 53 Vayelech

  • Nitzavim - Moses describes the Covenant between God and the Israelites, urging the Israelites to uphold the Covenant and honor the Torah so that they may be rewarded with life in the land of Israel.Moses continues his last speech before the Israelites."You are standing before God in order to enter into the Covenant of God and take the oath that God makes with you, so that God may fulfill God's promise to your fathers, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. It is not with you alone, but with those who are here and those who are not here that God makes this Covenant and oath." Moses continues, "You remember how we dwelt in the land of Egypt as slaves and saw the Egyptians worshipping their idols. If any of you turns your heart away now from our God to serve these foreign gods, there could be among you a root that will someday ripen as a poison. God will not be willing to forgive those who know of this Covenant but follow their own selfish heart. God's anger will rise against those people and God will blot out their name and set them apart as evil. "Future generations will see the devastation in the land and all the nations will ask, 'why has God done this to this land?' It shall then be said that the people forsook the Covenant of God that God established with them when God brought them out from the land of Egypt. They served other gods who did nothing for them. For this reason did God remove them from the land in great outrage. "There are secret things that belong only to God. The words of this Teaching, however, are revealed. This Teaching is ours and our children's forever. "And it will come to pass when all these words, the blessing and the curse, which I have set before you, will come upon you and you will take it to heart. In the midst of all the nations to which God has exiled you, you and your children will return to your God and hearken to God's voice with all your heart and with all your soul. Then God will turn back to seek out your exiles and have compassion upon you and will gather you together from among all the peoples to which God has scattered you. Then God will do good to you and multiply you even more than your fathers. "God will circumcise your heart and the heart of your descendants to love God so that you may live. Then God will place all these curses upon your enemies and upon those who hate you. Meanwhile you will return to God's commandments. Then good will be the work of your hands and good will be your livestock and the fruits in your field. For then you will be listening to the voice of God and following what is written in this Book of the Teaching." "For this commandment that I command you today," Moses insists, "is not beyond your understanding, nor is it far away. It is not in heaven, nor in the seas beyond your reach for the Word is very near to you. Carry it out with your mouth and with your heart. Vayelech - Moses concludes his speech to the Israelites, blesses Joshua, and instructs the community to gather every seven years to read publicly from the Torah; God predicts the eventual straying of the Israelites.The Israelites are still gathered on the bank of the River Jordan listening to Moses."I am 120 years old today," Moses says. "God has told me that I shall not pass over into the Promised Land. Still, God will pass before you. God will destroy the nations so that you can take possession of the land. You shall deal with these nations as you have been instructed. Be steadfast and strong and do not fear these nations or be frightened of them, for God is going with you. God will not let go of you, nor will God forsake you." Then Moses called Joshua and said to him before the eyes of all Israel, "Be steadfast and strong, for you are to go with this people to the land that God swore to their fathers to give to them. You shall have them take possession of it, to inherit it. God will be with you. God will not let go of you, nor will God forsake you. Fear nothing and do not be frightened." Moses wrote down this Teaching and handed it over to all the elders and to the priests, the sons of Levi, who carried the Ark of the Covenant of God. Moses commanded them, saying, "At the end of seven years, on the Festival of Huts, when all Israel comes to see itself directly before the Presence of God, you shall read this Teaching in the presence of all Israel." God then said to Moses, "Your day of death is approaching. Call Joshua and present yourselves in the Tent of Appointed Meeting so that I may give him his duty." Moses went with Joshua and they presented themselves in the Tent of Appointed Meeting. And God appeared in the Tent in a pillar of cloud, and the pillar of cloud stood at the entrance of the Tent. Then God said to Moses, "You are now going to lie down beside your fathers, and then this people will rise and stray and will follow foreign deities and will become unfaithful and forsake Me and break My Covenant. At that time My anger will be stirred up against the people. I will forsake them. I will hide My face from them so that it will fall prey to destruction and many evils and troubles will come upon it. At that time, they will say, 'Truly, because my God is not in my midst have these evils come upon me.' "Now, write down this song and teach it to the people of Israel. Put it in their mouth so that this song may become a witness for Me against them. For I know the people's frame of mind when I have brought them to this promised land." Moses wrote down this song on that day and taught it to the Israelites. And God gave Joshua his duty and said, "Be steadfast and strong! For you are to bring the children of Israel to the land that I have sworn to them, and I will be with you."

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