Va'et'hanan: A Summary of the Parsha
Moses stresses to the Israelites the importance of keeping God's commandments when they enter the land of Israel; Moses repeats the Ten Commandments and utters the Sh'ma and V'ahavta.
The following article is reprinted with permission from Jewish Family & Life!
Moses looks at the promised land by the banks of the river Jordan, and continues his final speech to the Israelites before he dies. Moses says, "I implored God to let me see this promised land, but God was angry with me because of you. God told me to appoint Joshua as your leader.
"And now, O Israel, hearken to the commandments that I am teaching you so that you may live and possess this promised land. Do not add or subtract anything to that which I am commanding. Your own eyes have sees that everyone that followed Baal Peor was destroyed. Those of you who remained with God are all alive today.
"God's laws are your wisdom before the eyes of the nations. Nations will say, 'Who is this great nation? One that has a Deity near and available for the people. One that has righteous decrees and ordinances like this entire Torah.' Only take heed and guard your soul exceedingly so you do not forget... Make your experiences known to your children and your children's children.
"Remember the day at Mount Sinai when God spoke to you out of the midst of fire. God commanded you to observe the Ten Commandments and God inscribed them upon two tablets of stone. Take heed that you do not become corrupt and make yourselves an image of God, not in any form, not the likeness of male or female, nor any living thing, not sun nor moon nor stars. Do not allow yourself to be lured into bowing down to idols or serving them. These God allotted to the other peoples.
"When you beget children and grandchildren and have long been in this promised land, you will grow corrupt and do evil in the eyes of God. You will anger God. You shall not long endure in the land but be utterly wiped out. God will scatter you among the nations and you will be left few in number among the nations to which God will lead you. There you will serve man-made gods.
"Then in the distress that will befall you, when all these decrees of fate will have come to you, in the end of days, you will return to God and listen to God's voice. For God, your God, is a merciful God. God will not turn you adrift nor let you be destroyed. God will not forget the covenant made with your forefathers.
"So ask yourselves has any other god taken a nation from the midst of another nation with demonstrations of power, with signs and miracles, with a strong hand and an outstretched arm, and with great terrors, comparable to all that God did for you in Egypt before your own eyes?
"Therefore know it today and take it to heart repeatedly that in heaven above and on earth below, God alone is God. Keep God's commandments that I command you today--which will do good to you and your children after you--and so that you may long remain upon the soil that God is giving you for all time.