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Shabbat Va’Etchanan – Sabbath Readings and Commentary

Deuteronomy 3:23 – 7:11; Haftara: Isaiah 40:1-26

Extracts of the Commentary by Michael Schneider,
Israel today, Jerusalem:

Our weekly reading begins with a moving prayer by Moses requesting that God allow him to enter the Promised Land, despite his earlier sin of striking the rock for water when he was instructed to merely speak to it. Moses has been waiting most of his life to see the fulfillment of God’s promise to Israel. The Lord is merciful, and grants Moses half of his request by letting him see in a supernatural way from Mount Nebo all of the land from the Golan in the north to the Negev in the south.

Moses knew his people, therefore he warned them strongly before he died: “Only be careful, and watch yourselves closely so that you do not forget the things your eyes have seen or let them slip from your heart as long as you live! Teach them to your children and to their children after them.” (4:9)

In chapter five Moses repeats the Ten Commandments, and in chapter six he reiterates the Torah’s Mega-Mitzvah: “Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one. Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.” (6:4-5 … Even today, those are the words a Jew recites before he dies.)

* In Mark 12 we see the full quotation of this, including the Shma, when Jesus was asked what is the greatest commandment.

At the end of our reading Moses explains why God choose this people. Not because it is great and mighty, but rather the opposite is true: because it is the smallest of the nations! God Almighty chose Israel so that He could do mighty wonders and signs through this rebellious, stiff-necked people, because “in our weakness His power is perfected!”

Interestingly, all the readings from the prophets corresponding to the Torah readings through Deuteronomy, the fifth book of Moses, are from the Book Isaiah. Jesus and the apostles also often quoted from Isaiah (in Hebrew Yeshayahu – YAH will save).

This week’s reading from Isaiah starts with the words: “Comfort, O comfort My people,” says your God. Speak kindly to Jerusalem; and call out to her, that her warfare has ended, that her iniquity has been removed, that she has received of the LORD’S hand double for all her sins.

Yes, indeed, this people has received a double portion of punishment. But guess what? It also will receive a double portion of blessing!
(By the way, read verse 22 carefully and you will see clear biblical proof that the earth is round! – “He who sits above the circle of the earth.” No need for Leorndado Di Vinci’s “discovery.”)

Shabbat Shalom

*) God’s Sabbath International tries at passages marked with star to observe common and sometimes even connecting doings between Jews and Christians



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