Shabbat VaYelekh: Beginning the Shemitta Year

On this Shabbat VaYelekh we have come nearly to the end of the Sefer Torah. Most of the parchment is rolled up on one side of the two atzei hayim, the two “trees of life” upon which the scroll is rolled. It’s a lot of parchment; a lot of text, of reading and studying andContinue reading “Shabbat VaYelekh: Beginning the Shemitta Year”

Shabbat VaYeilekh: We Went Forth

By Shir Tikvah Talmidah Hakhamah Emma Lugo In Vayeilech we find Moshe Rabeinu at the end of his life, and what a long and strange trip it has been.  Our beloved Moses was born into slavery but became the Prince of Egypt by floating down a river, he discovered the truth about who he reallyContinue reading “Shabbat VaYeilekh: We Went Forth”

Shabbat Shuvah: Remember Who You Are

Every year we observe Shabbat Shuvah between Rosh HaShanah and Yom Kippur. It is not the same parashah every year, though; this year, our Torah text is parashat VaYelekh, “he went.” It refers to Moshe, called in our tradition Moshe Rabbenu, “our Rabbi” – our teacher, our guide, our spiritual support. וַיֵּלֶךְ, מֹשֶׁה; וַיְדַבֵּר אֶת-הַדְּבָרִים הָאֵלֶּה,Continue reading “Shabbat Shuvah: Remember Who You Are”

Shabbat Shuvah: How Will You Go On the Last Day?

At the beginning of our parashat hashavua it is written: Vayelekh Moshe; vay’dabeyr et kol had’varim ha’eyleh el kol Yisrael, “Moshe went; he spoke all these things to all Israel” (Devarim 31.1) Although this form of speech may seem familiar to some of us (i.e. “he went and spoke”, or “he’s gone and done itContinue reading “Shabbat Shuvah: How Will You Go On the Last Day?”

Shabbat Shuvah 5776

How long does it take for a Jew to write the first sin of 5776 in the Book of Life? Sometimes, only as long as it takes to get from davening to tashlikh. We are meant to take the whole ten Days of Awe to work our way toward a sense of forgiveness toward others and atonement forContinue reading “Shabbat Shuvah 5776”

Shabbat Nitzavim-VaYelekh: Where Do You Stand?

Where do you stand as a Jew? On this Shabbat we are called upon to focus upon this question. Nitzavim means “to stand firm” and in these days, as we count down the final hours until Rosh HaShanah, this Shabbat is a moment of welcome quiet. Even as the students among us have just begunContinue reading “Shabbat Nitzavim-VaYelekh: Where Do You Stand?”

Shabbat Nitzavim-VaYelekh: Standing Firm And Walking It Forward

We are reading a double parashah this week. The first of the two readings is called standing firm in place, and the second is walking, going forward, toward something. One teaching we can derive from the fact that these two parashot are often read together is that we are to be doing both of these apparentlyContinue reading “Shabbat Nitzavim-VaYelekh: Standing Firm And Walking It Forward”