Moses informs the Jewish people that we each face a choice; choose to observe G-d’s directions for living (i.e. the Torah) and receive blessings, or choose to ignore G-d and experience estrangement and its consequences. Moses then turns to describing a number of religious, civil, and social laws relevant once the Jewish people enter the Promised Land. Included in this listing are:
- Don’t imitate the ways of the nations surrounding you.
- A false prophet who attempts to entice you to idolatry should be put to death.
- Since the Torah is complete and perfect, nothing may be added to or subtracted from it.
- Self-infliction of wounds on the body as a sign of mourning is prohibited.
- As a holy people, refrain from eating non-kosher food.
- Be particularly warm-hearted and charitable. Many laws and guidelines concerning tzedaka (righteous giving) are found in this week’s portion.
- The three pilgrimage festivals (Passover, Shavous, and Sukkos) are opportunities to ascend (make aliyah) to Jerusalem and the Temple to celebrate our blessings.