Published Date: October 11, 2019
In this Shabbat’s weekly Torah portion V’Zot Habracha Deuteronomy 33:1-34:12, Moses blesses each of the tribes, as is customary in the Bible for parents to bless their children before dying. When Moses is done, God instructs him to ascend the mountain where he will survey the land before being “gathered to his fathers”. Finally, the portion — and the Torah — ends with a reckoning of what it was that made Moses so unique.
It should be noted that this portion is not read on the Sabbath. Rather, it is read on the holiday of Simchat Torah, in which the Torah reading cycle is completed and restarted, amid much joyous celebration.
Topic 1: Blessings of Reuben, Judah, Levi, Benjamin and Joseph
Moses begins with a brief introduction describing the relationship between God and the Children of Israel before blessing each tribe individually. He begins with Reuben, blessing him with continuity. Judah he blesses with might and the ear of God. To Levi he offers praise for the tribe’s steadfast commitment to God, asking God to accept… Read More »
Topic 2: Blessings of Zebulun, Issachar, Gad, Dan, Naftali and Asher
Next, Moses blesses Zebulun and Issachar together, the former in their travels and the latter in their tents. He praises Gad for ‘executing God’s righteousness’, recognizing God for enlarging the tribe. He compares Dan to a leaping lion. He offers Naftali prosperity on the sea and in the south. He blesses Asher with oil and… Read More »
Topic 3: The Death of Moses
Moses ascends Mount Nebo, and God shows him all the land which the Children of Israel are set to inherit. Then Moses dies, and is buried in an unknown location in the land of Moab. The mourning period for Moses lasts 30 days in the plains of Moab. Joshua, on whom Moses rested his… Read More »
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