Parshas: Va’eschanan

Moses continues his final speech to the Children of Israel. He tells them how he entreated G-d to allow him to enter the land of Israel, but his request was denied. Moses was allowed, however, to see the Promised Land from the peak of Mount Pisgah. Moses appeals to the people to keep the Torah, telling them to neither add to nor subtract from its mitzvos. They are told to always remember the Revelation at Mt. Sinai where every man, woman and child heard the presentation of the Ten Commandments. Moses repeats the Ten Commandments, with subtle differences between this version and that of the Book of Exodus. The Shema, found in this week’s Torah portion, expresses our belief that G-d is One and states our commitment to love and serve Him. It exhorts us to transmit Torah to the next generation, and its laws should be remembered by a ‘sign’ upon one’s hand and forehead (tefillin) and written on the doorposts of one’s home (mezuzah). Finally, Moses encourages the people to trust in G-d and remain faithful to the Torah. Intermarriage is prohibited, and the source that Jewish identity is transmitted through the mother is stated.