L’SHANAH TOVAH TIKATËVU V’TËCHATËMU – May you be written and sealed in the Book of Life for a good year!
From ReformJudaism.org https://reformjudaism.org/torah/portion/vayeilech
Vayëlech (וַיֵּלֶךְ — Hebrew for “[Moses] went”)
Moses went and spoke these things to all Israel. He said to them: “I am now one hundred and twenty years old, I can no longer be active. Moreover, the Eternal has said to me, ‘You shall not go across yonder Jordan.'” – Deuteronomy 31:1-2
- Moses prepares the people for his death and announces that Joshua will succeed him. (31:1–8)
- Moses instructs the priests and the elders regarding the importance of reading the Torah. (31:9–13)
- God informs Moses that upon his death, the people will commit idolatry and “many evils and troubles shall befall them.” God tells Moses to teach the people a poem that will “be My witness.” (31:14–30)
HAFTARAH – Shabbat Shuvah
Ashkenazim: Hosea 14:2-10; Micah 7:18-20; Joel 2:15-27
Sefardim: Hosea 14:2-10; Micah 7:18-20
From ReformJudaism.org https://reformjudaism.org/torah/portion/vayeilech
Growth and Decay
By: Rabbi Jacqueline Mates-Muchin [Senior Rabbi, Temple Sinai, Oakland CA]
STRUGGLING WITH TORAH and REFLECTION
You can read this week’s Torah Portion at https://www.sefaria.org/Deuteronomy.31.1-30
From “The Torah / A Women’s Commentary” edited by Dr. Tamara Cohn Eskenazi and Rabbi Andrea L. Weiss, Ph.D.
וילך Vayeilech – Deuteronomy 31:1–30
The Oral and the Written: Words of Encouragement and Warning by Adriane Leveen, pp. 1235-1236
PARASHAT VAYEILECH (“[he] went”) is the shortest portion in the Torah, consisting of only thirty verses. It begins with Moses standing before the Israelites in the plains of Moab, just across the Jordan River from the Promised Land. He delivers an encouraging message to Israel (31:1–13), in which he assures the people that although he is about to die, God will lead them into the Land, wiping out any obstacles in their path. To reinforce Joshua’s legitimacy as their new leader, Moses appoints him in front of all Israel.
Moses then writes down the Teaching (torah) and instructs the priests and elders regarding future public readings of the written text. As in 29:9–10, the text makes the inclusive nature of the covenant explicit, specifying that men, women, children, and strangers are to listen to and learn from God’s Teaching (31:12).
In the second part of the parashah (vv. 14–23), God begins to speak, delivering a darkly pessimistic message. God anticipates that immediately after Moses’ death, the people will go astray by worshiping other gods. As a result, Moses must write down the words of a poem as witness against the people.
Finally, Moses again speaks to the people (vv. 24–30); but now, as if infected by God’s disappointment, Moses too predicts misfortune in Israel’s future. In addition, repeatedly the parashah emphasizes the transmission of God’s teaching as a written text.
Regarding the treatment of women in this parashah, they are mentioned explicitly only once (v. 12), although they are included implicitly as part of the “people.” Nevertheless, readers might consider a number of questions sparked by the parashah:
- What are the repercussions of having the tale narrated by a single dominant male voice, that of Moses? The story as told is shaped by the teller and his particular interests; and, in turn, this story will shape the type of community that Israel will become. What if, instead, the story were to be told from the perspective of a female figure, such as Miriam? What might a female narrator have considered crucial if she were asked to retell the events of the wilderness journey? What vision of community might she propose?
- Moses passes the reins of communal leadership from himself to Joshua. Who would have been a fitting successor to his sister, Miriam–the prophet and leader who died not long beforehand (Numbers 20:1)?
- The depiction of Moses writing down the torah (which in this context refers to the teachings in Deuteronomy) prompts speculation: Could a female author have written a biblical book?
While answers to these questions remain largely conjectural, the parashah makes one thing quite clear: women as well as men must hear and study the Torah and apply it to their lives.
Another View – by Talia Sutskover, p. 1245
PARASHAT VAYEILECH DESCRIBES Moses’ final preparations before taking leave of Israel. On the verge of his death, Moses appoints Joshua as military commander. He also sets the date on which the Torah should be read publicly; and, in an attempt to protect the people from God’s wrath, he teaches the poem Haazinu (content of Deuteronomy 32, in the next parashah). Knowing that he cannot enter the Promised Land and that he is about to die does not make Moses less committed to the nation. On the contrary, he carries out these preparations with great care and attention to detail, demonstrating his love and devotion to Israel.
One way that the parashah communicates this message is through the repetition of the word “all” (kol). Deuteronomy 31 begins with the statement that Moses addresses “all Israel” (31:1), and that “in the sight of all Israel” (31:7) he appoints Joshua as commander. The expression “all Israel” (kol Yisrael) is used frequently in Deuteronomy, reflecting the continued insistence that no individual should be left out. When Moses charges the priests and “all the elders of Israel” to impart God’s Teaching (31:9), he repeats the command that this must be done when “all Israel” appears before God (31:11). Moses specifies that “men, women, children, and the strangers” must be gathered to learn “every word” of the Teaching (kol divrei hatorah) (31:12).
Moses demonstrates his concern and conscientiousness in other ways, too. In particular, he makes sure that women are included. Just as 29:10 makes it clear that women are part of the covenant ceremony, 31:12 states explicitly that women must study and faithfully observe the terms of the covenant. Similarly, Moses writes down the words of this Teaching “to the very end” (31:24), and he also recites the words of the poem “to the very end” (31:30).
The word kol also appears in an earlier passage, one that shows Moses at a rather different point in his life. During the course of the wilderness wanderings, Moses uses a striking maternal metaphor when, exasperated, he tries to distance himself from the people: “Did I produce [or: conceive] all this people (kol haam), did I engender [or: give birth to] them, that You should say to me, ‘Carry them in your bosom as a caretaker carries an infant,’ to the land that You have promised on oath to their fathers?” (Numbers 11:12). Now, at the end of the journey, Moses contemplates death, not birth. Like a loving parent, he conscientiously prepares to bid his “children” farewell as they enter the Promised Land without him.
HIGH HOLY DAYS – 5783 – Shanah Tovah uMetukah – Anyada Buena i Dulce!
Given the uncertainty of the current pandemic, concern for the wellbeing of our highly at-risk members, and the excellent online resources available from other congregations, Temple Kol Hamidbar is NOT holding Yom Kippur Services this year.
The Union for Reform Judaism and various congregations within the Reform Movement are providing online resources to anyone interested in participating in services. In some cases, registration is required. You may want to visit the following websites for their latest information on the High Holy Days and how to access them.
Kol Ami (formerly Temple Emanu-El and Congregation Or Chadash), Tucson, AZ https://katucson.shulcloud.com/
Congregation Or Ami, Calabasas, CA https://orami.org/hhd/
Temple Sinai, Oakland, CA https://www.oaklandsinai-hhd.org/
The Union for Reform Judaism https://reformjudaism.org/jewish-holidays/rosh-hashanah/how-find-high-holiday-community-wherever-you-are
From “Mishkan T’filah / A Reform Siddur”:
FOR OUR COUNTRY p.516
THUS SAYS ADONAI, This is what I desire: to unlock the fetters of wickedness, and untie the cords of lawlessness; to let the oppressed go free, to break off every yoke. Share your bread with the hungry, and take the wretched poor into your home. When you see the naked, give clothing, and do not ignore your own kin.
O GUARDIAN of life and liberty, may our nation always merit Your protection. Teach us to give thanks for what we have by sharing it with those who are in need. Keep our eyes open to the wonders of creation, and alert to the care of the earth. May we never be lazy in the work of peace; may we honor those who have [served, suffered or] died in defense of our ideals. Grant our leaders wisdom and forbearance. May they govern with justice and compassion. Help us all to appreciate one another, and to respect the many ways that we may serve You. May our homes be safe from affliction and strife, and our country be sound in body and spirit. Amen.
We recite MI SHEBËRACH for the victims of abuse, brutality, conflicts, fear, natural disasters, pandemics, tragedies, violence of all kinds especially directed at individuals and specific communities including us, and war; for all those at home alone or lonely; for all those in need of physical, emotional, and mental healing. “R’fuah sh’lëmah” – a complete recovery!
We say KADDISH YATOM for those of our friends and families who have died and been buried this last week; those in the period of Sh’loshim (30 days since burial); those who have died in the last year; and those whose Yahrzeits/Anyos occur at this time; as well as the victims of brutality, conflict, disease, natural disasters, pandemics, tragedies, violence of all kinds, and war.
This coming week, the 6th of Tishri through the 12th of Tishri, we lovingly remember:
Memorial Board, Mother of TKH Member Joe Schwartz z”l
Friend and Neighbor of TKH Member Iris Adler
Aunt of TKH Member Elizabeth Bernstein
Those victims of the Sho’ah (Holocaust) who died at this time of year.
“ZICHRONAM LIV’RACHAH” – MAY THEIR MEMORIES BE FOR BLESSING.
TORAH STUDY AND SHAZOOM
We will meet as usual at the regular times for Torah Study and Shazoom this evening, Friday, September 30, 2022.
Zoom regularly updates its security and performance features. Making sure you have the latest version of Zoom, please join us online this evening with wine/grape juice for Kiddush and Challah for Motzi.
Topic: Torah Study – Vayëlech (triennial part) Deut. 31:1-30
Time: Sep 30, 2022 06:00 PM Arizona
Shazoom – Erev Shabbat Service
Time: Sep 30, 2022 07:30 PM Arizona
To join Torah Study and/or Shazoom click on the following link [you may need to copy it into your browser]: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/72510500854?pwd=Z3VQZWF4U1BBZytNYmh3aHFTWkFDZz09
Meeting ID: 725 1050 0854
Hint: The last character of the password is the number zero.
We are in the midst of the Yamim Nora’im – the Days of Awe. Some apply this label only to Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. Others apply it to the two as well as the whole ten-day period they encompass. These are also known as the Ten Days of Repentance.
Yom Kippur begins the evening of Tuesday, October 4, 2022 at sundown.
G’MAR CHATIMAH TOVAH – May you be sealed for good (in the Book of Life)!
Shabbat Shalom – Buen Shabbat/Gute Shabbos!
PS – Some Yom Kippur Greetings besides Shana Tovah
Chag Sameach (“happy holiday”)
G’mar Tovah (“a good seal”)
Tzom kal (“May you have an easy fast”),
Yom Tov or Gut Yontiv (“a good [holy] day”)