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Parsha VaYeilech

Updated on October 1, 2016

Powerhouse of a Parsha

The Parsha is from Deuteronomy 31:1-32:8.

VaYeilech means “and he went”. In the context of this parsha it means and “Moshe (Moses) went and spoke these words to all of Israel” (31:1).

However, it is the Parsha where HaShem commands Moshe to summon Yehoshua (Joshua) to the Tent of Meeting because Moshe is going to leave this world.

There is a concept in the Hebrew language which is called a reverse vav. The Vav in the equivalent letter to “v” and as one letter it is also one word. The word is the conjunction of “and”. It is also a tool to help tell a story. When the vav is a reverse vav it has the ability to switch the future to the present and the present to the future. The Hebrew language is a beautiful language for science fiction since there is only a past tense referred to the perfect because it has already taken place. In other words it has already been written and the other tense is the imperfect tense or more commonly known as the future tense. The action has not take place yet and so it is imperfect. The reverse vav is used for stories in the scripture.

Applying the concept of the reverse vav, this first verse of 31:1 can be restated as “And Moshe will go and (so) he went and spoke these words to the children of Israel.” We can see that Moshe had to address the people since he was going to depart from this world.

Verse 31:7 says, “...you shall cause them to inherit it.” In this verse HaShem (G-d) is telling Yehoshua that he has no option on his mission in this world. The people have no choice, they are a part that they are going to play on the Global stage, or HaShem is going to replace them with other people that will become Jews and take the yoke of Judaism upon themselves. However, I get the impression that Yehoshua cannot be replaced. He will have to play his part.

Verse 31:8 says, “HaShem – it is He who goes before you; He will be with you; He will not release you nor will He forsake you, do not be afraid and do not be dismayed.” It seems Yehoshua has no option. The word used for “who goes” is “Holech”, and this same verb is used in reference for the proper way to live a life as a Jew. The rulings that guide us as Jews are called Halacha, the same root as “Holech”. In other words HaShem is the one who goes before us and we follow after Him. We try to live our lives in accordance to what he has laid out for us in the Torah.

Each person in this world has a mission to perform, no matter how large or small. One cannot be released from this. It is believed that when a person truly fulfills their mission in this world then they will pass away from this world. Moshe’s mission ended at the border to the land of Israel and Yehoshua’s mission begun, as Yehoshua is told that HaShem will not release him.

Verse 31:14 shows us that HaShem tells Moshe to act because his days are numbered. Proper instruction must take place. The Master has to finish the lesson of the student before power can be shifted. Here Moshe is not the instructor, HaShem is the instructor.

HaShem tells Moshe to write a song in order to teach. This is a very interesting fact because we learn through song. We teach songs to help our children remember when they are young. Since Judaism is a religion where the Orthodox reads the scroll in Hebrew and prays in Hebrew it was important for the songs to be chanted with a tune and the reading of the scroll is also in with a special chant so that the people could remember them and keep them alive as the force of nations try to assimilate the minorities. This is why a cantor (Chantor) exists in the synagogue in order to chant. Some level of assimilation is needed to function in society but one should never give up their religion, faith, or culture when they can preserve it in their homes. The song helps to preserve the history of the Jewish people.

Verse 31:29 speaks of politics and how they are corrupting to people. Moshe tells the leaders that they will stray. The hope is that they do not, but the nature of mankind is that many will. This is important for any people and their relationship to their government. The leaders will act corruptly, and that is why it is important to think about who we elect. Their history will give us insight to how they will serve the people or themselves. This is also why it is important in any society to change up the leadership so that we can let them know we are not going to put up with their corruptions and that we should replace them it they act in such ways. That is also why government should be limited in its power as the old cliché goes “Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely”, so Moshe teaches them the song of Haazinu (Give ear),to help keep them straight.

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