In this Shabbat’s weekly Torah portion Va’etchanan Deuteronomy 3:23 – 7:11, Moses tells the people of Israel how he implored God to allow him to enter the Land of Israel, but God refused, instructing him instead to ascend a mountain and see the Promised Land.
Continuing his “review of the Torah,” Moses describes the Exodus from Egypt and the Giving of the Torah, declaring them unprecedented events in human history. “Has there ever occurred this great thing, or has the likes of it ever been heard? Did ever a people hear the voice of God speaking out of the midst of the fire . . . and live? . . . You were shown, to know, that the Lord is God . . . there is none else beside Him.”
In this week’s Haftara Prophets reading Isaiah 40:1 – 40:26, is the first of a series of seven “haftarot of Consolation.” These seven haftarot commence on the Shabbat following Tisha B’Av and continue until Rosh Hashanah.
This section of Isaiah begins with God’s exhortation to the prophets: “Console, O console My people . . . Announce to Jerusalem that her period of exile has been fulfilled and that her sins have been forgiven.”