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Shabbat-Reading Nitzavim/VaYelech – You stand (before the LORD)/And (Moses) went: Deut. 29:10-31:30; Isaiah 61:10-63:9

Shabbat Reading and Commentary for the 37th week 2007,
Shabbat Nitzavim/VaYelech – You stand (before the LORD)/And (Moses) went Deuteronomy 29:10-31:30; Isaiah 61:10-63:9
By Michael Schneider – nai israel today, Jerusalem

Commentary:
It is common that these two weekly Torah portions are read together on a Shabbat. Further, this Shabbat the 25th Elul is als in Judaism marked as the first Day of Creation of the universe – and six days later at the creation of man we celebrate the New Year 5768.
We approaching Moses’ farewell speech before the leaders of the tribes. In our reading we find a confirmation of validity and eternity in the promises to Moses, the humble servant of God as in verses 14 and 15: „Now not with you alone am I making this covenant and this oath… but both with those who stand here with us today in the presence of the LORD our God and with those who are not with us here today.” A eternal covenant!“then the LORD your God will restore you from captivity, and have compassion on you, and will gather you again from all the peoples where the LORD your God has scattered you.” (30:3)

In the same chapter the Lord of hosts says that His commandments are not ‘Mission Impossible’ caliber, but can be reached. As a believer I understand, that God’s commands can be observed. We do not need to travel across continents and countries, even not to so-called revival conferences to experience God and His will – for His ‘Word is very near’ – to your mouth and your heart!

It was assured from then that the Good News, God’s divine word, would be spread all over the globe and no one would need to travel to experience salvation or healing.

„See, I have set before you today life and prosperity, and death and adversity!” (verse 15) This is the LORD’s same proclamation to man today. The prophet Isaiah wrote: “I have spread out My hands all day long to a rebellious people…” (Isaiah 65:2).

Moses pled and hopes that his people, who he knew well for 40 years, would “choose life, and therefore live… between life and death, blessing and curse, that I have set before you” (30:19). It is also set before us today!

In our second reading, we reach Moses’ last day. He was exactly 120-years-old. According to Jewish tradition, he was born and died on the same day of the year, the seventh day of the Hebrew month Adar. The age, 120, is reserved for a righteous person. This is the memorial day of all descendants whose death location and date is unknown, like Moses.

Joshua, takes over as leader and brings the people over the Jordan into the Promised Land. Moses, before he left, said to the people: “Be strong and courageous, do not be afraid or tremble at them, for the LORD your God is the one who goes with you He will not fail you or forsake you.“ (31:6) He encouraged them that just because he was leaving, didn’t mean God would.

The last thing Moses did was write the whole Torah and pass it to the priests, the Levites. This is also the last commandment of the 613 Commandments of the Torah, to write down the Torah.

But Moses knew to whom he was talking to, that’s why he emphasize so often to be ‘circumcised by heart’ (30:6): „For I know your rebellion and your stubbornness; behold, while I am still alive with you today, you have been rebellious against the LORD; how much more, then, after my death?” (31:27).
We should not put our trust in man, but in the LORD alone!



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