In this Shabbat’s weekly Torah portion Re’eh Deuteronomy 11:26 – 16:17, “See,” says Moses to the people of Israel, “I place before you today a blessing and a curse”—the blessing that will come when they fulfill God’s commandments, and the curse if they abandon them. These should be proclaimed on Mount Gerizim and Mount Ebal when the people cross over into the Holy Land.

A Temple should be established in “the place that God will choose to make dwell His name there,” where the people should bring their sacrifices to Him; it is forbidden to make offerings to God in any other place. It is permitted to slaughter animals elsewhere, not as a sacrifice but to eat their meat; the blood (which in the Temple is poured upon the altar), however, may not be eaten.

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In this week’s Haftara Prophets reading Isaiah 54:11 – 55:5, is the third of a series of seven “haftarot of Consolation.” These seven haftarot commence on the Shabbat following Tisha b’Av and continue until Rosh Hashanah.

God addresses the “afflicted and storm-tossed” Jerusalem “who has not been comforted,” assuring her that she, and her people, will be restored to full glory. The foundation, walls and ground of Jerusalem will be laid with precious stones. Her children will be “disciples of the Lord,” and will enjoy abundant peace. Any weapon engineered against her will fail.

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Happy studying!

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