Shabbat Shalom Dear Readers Parshat Vaetchanan 5775

July 31, 2015

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The following article is based upon an article that appeared on Globe tribune.Info last year.

This week, Parshat Vaetchanan will be ushered in by candle lighting at 7:54PM in Brooklyn,New York. Candle lighting is 18 minutes before sunset, which marks the actual onset of Shabbat. Chabad.Org has a section of their site on which you can look up candle lighting time in your location, as well as the time Shabbat ends on Saturday night.

.Aish.com, like Chabad.org also has inspirational articles that can be printed out and read on Shabbat when your computer is turned off. Additionally, some of the audio and video is worth looking at and listening to during the week. This Shabbat is known as Shabbat Nachamu, the Shabbat of consolation, which is the name for the first Shabbat after Tisha B’Av, the first Shabbat after we commemorate the destruction of the first and second temples.

Chabad.org has an article about Rebbe Meir of Premishlan Most people make a point by argument or by citing authoritative texts. Meir of Premishlan chose instead to perform miracles. Today’s story on Chabad.org is no exception.

Aish.com has an article by Rabbi Boruch Leff about his father, and the manner in which his father faced approaching death as a terminal illness overtook him. Rabbi Leff makes the point that the clarity and spiritual focus displayed by his father came from a life lived following the right path.

This week, the opening words of Shema as well as the first paragraph of the Shema (Hear Oh Israel…) prayer are a part of this week’s parsha, as well as verses that tie righteousness to remaining in the land. The parsha also included the Ten Commandments.This week is the first of seven weeks in which the haftorah readings are words of consolation. It is interesting to note that Moshe predicts in the parsha that Jews would turn away from G‑d, worship idols, and be exiled from the Holy Land and be scattered amongst the nation. It also predicted that the Jewish people would seek G‑d from the exile and return to the observance of His commandments.

This parsha also mentions the command to uproot idolatry from the Promised land and to expel the original inhabitants. Some of the horrific blood letting today is a grim reminder of how low people can sink when they worship a god they have created in their own image. It should be noted that the Jewish people had a legal framework for accepting as residents of the Holy Land people who had given up idolatry.

It is interesting that Muslim and Christian “substitutionists” believe that Jews had originally been chosen, but blew their mission and were replaced by a ”new” revelation and a new faith. It seems that G-d already had an answer for that. The same book that declared the Jewish people to be a nation chosen to keep the Torah also predicted that there would be stumbling and regaining balance. Part of living up to the Torah involves showing that repentance is possible. By straying and returning, the Jewish people is providing hope to the nations of the world, that it is possible to stray without forever severing a relationship with G-d. If the Muslims and Christians were right about chosenness being taken from the Jewish people, it would imply that our relationship with G-d is fragile indeed. Additionally, if the Torah were nullified because of Jewish transgressions, the same logic would apply to the “New” Testament and the Koran. With substitutionist logic, there would be a new prophet every month, every time a new chosen people messes up and gets “dechosen”.

May it be G-d’s will that the Holy Temple be rebuilt, thereby settling so many questions over which so much blood has been shed.

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