Parshat Vayelech

Shabbat Shuvah
(Deuteronomy 31:1-31:30)
(Hoshea 14:2-10, Michah 7:18-20, Yoel 2:15-27)

1. [31:2] “…I can no longer go out and come in”, says Moshe. It says in another place (Deuteronomy 34:7) that Moshe never lost his physical vitality. What might be a physical interpretation of this statement and what might be a spiritual interpretation of the statement?

2. [31:17] “…because God is not within me, these bad things happened”. What does it mean for a person not to have God within him or her? Why does this absence of God make bad things happen?

3. [31:21] “…and this song will serve as a witness for them…” When the Jews will have turned away from God and bad things will happen to us, this song will help to return us to God. What qualities does song have that makes it better than stories or declarations to change a person’s attitudes?

4. [Haftara: Hosea 14:3] “Take words with you and return to God…” Why does one need words to return to God? Isn’t tshuvah an experience which is above words?

5. [Haftara: Hosea 14:6] “I [God] will be like the dew for Israel…” What does this image mean and why is it considered such a blessing?


[31:12] “Gather the people—the men, the women and the children…”

Why did God say that all the children should all be brought to this gathering? Everyone is supposed to listen to the Torah, and the smaller children disturb one’s concentration. They make noise and they demand attention.

This is coming to teach us the following: One’s own spiritual development is very important. But sometimes, in order to serve God, and especially in order to pass the Torah way of life onto one’s children, one has to give up on what seems like one’s own spiritual development. Focusing on others, rather than on oneself, in itself brings a great deal of spiritual growth.

–The Sfat Emet, R. Yehudah Aryeh Leib Alter (1847 – 1905), Góra Kalwaria, Poland
This study page is dedicated to the memory of Gad Eliahu ben David and Kochava—Eli Zucker
This study page is dedicated to the memory of Sarah Bella bat Yitzchak Kummer, Chaim Yosef Yechiel ben Eliyahu Kummer and Eliyahu and Margaret Kummer

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