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Vayeilech

English Translation

Vayeilech

[Moses] Went
Deuteronomy
31:1–30

Translation from The Torah: A Modern Commentary (CCAR Press)

Vayeilech Deuteronomy English translation31:1] Moses went and spoke these things to all Israel. 2] He said to them:

I am now one hundred and twenty years old, I can no longer be active. Moreover, the Eternal has said to me, “You shall not go across yonder Jordan.” 3] It is indeed the Eternal your God who will cross over before you, and who will wipe out those nations from your path; and you shall dispossess them.—Joshua is the one who shall cross before you, as the Eternal has spoken.— 4] The Eternal will do to them as was done to Sihon and Og, kings of the Amorites, and to their countries, when [God] wiped them out. 5] The Eternal will deliver them up to you, and you shall deal with them in full accordance with the Instruction that I have enjoined upon you. 6] Be strong and resolute, be not in fear or in dread of them; for it is indeed the Eternal your God who marches with you: [God] will not fail you or forsake you.

7] Then Moses called Joshua and said to him in the sight of all Israel: “Be strong and resolute, for it is you who shall go with this people into the land that the Eternal swore to their fathers to give them, and it is you who shall apportion it to them. 8] And it is indeed the Eternal who will go before you. [God] will be with you—and will not fail you or forsake you. Fear not and be not dismayed!”

9] Moses wrote down this Teaching and gave it to the priests, sons of Levi, who carried the Ark of the Eternal’s Covenant, and to all the elders of Israel.

10] And Moses instructed them as follows: Every seventh year, the year set for remission, at the Feast of Booths, 11] when all Israel comes to appear before the Eternal your God in the place that [God] will choose, you shall read this Teaching aloud in the presence of all Israel. 12] Gather the people—men, women, children, and the strangers in your communities—that they may hear and so learn to revere the Eternal your God and to observe faithfully every word of this Teaching. 13] Their children, too, who have not had the experience, shall hear and learn to revere the Eternal your God as long as they live in the land that you are about to cross the Jordan to possess.

14] The Eternal One said to Moses: The time is drawing near for you to die. Call Joshua and present yourselves in the Tent of Meeting, that I may instruct him. Moses and Joshua went and presented themselves in the Tent of Meeting. 15] The Eternal appeared in the Tent, in a pillar of cloud, the pillar of cloud having come to rest at the entrance of the tent.

16] The Eternal said to Moses: You are soon to lie with your ancestors. This people will thereupon go astray after the alien gods in their midst, in the land that they are about to enter; they will forsake Me and break My covenant that I made with them. 17] Then My anger will flare up against them, and I will abandon them and hide My countenance from them. They shall be ready prey; and many evils and troubles shall befall them. And they shall say on that day, “Surely it is because our God is not in our midst that these evils have befallen us.” 18] Yet I will keep My countenance hidden on that day, because of all the evil they have done in turning to other gods. 19] Therefore, write down this poem and teach it to the people of Israel; put it in their mouths, in order that this poem may be My witness against the people of Israel. 20] When I bring them into the land flowing with milk and honey that I promised on oath to their fathers, and they eat their fill and grow fat and turn to other gods and serve them, spurning Me and breaking My covenant, 21] and the many evils and troubles befall them—then this poem shall confront them as a witness, since it will never be lost from the mouth of their offspring. For I know what plans they are devising even now, before I bring them into the land that I promised on oath.

22] That day, Moses wrote down this poem and taught it to the Israelites.

23] And [God] charged Joshua son of Nun: “Be strong and resolute: for you shall bring the Israelites into the land that I promised them on oath, and I will be with you.”

24] When Moses had put down in writing the words of this Teaching to the very end, 25] Moses charged the Levites who carried the Ark of the Covenant of the Eternal, saying: 26] Take this book of Teaching and place it beside the Ark of the Covenant of the Eternal your God, and let it remain there as a witness against you. 27] Well I know how defiant and stiffnecked you are: even now, while I am still alive in your midst, you have been defiant toward the Eternal; how much more, then, when I am dead! 28] Gather to me all the elders of your tribes and your officials, that I may speak all these words to them and that I may call heaven and earth to witness against them. 29] For I know that, when I am dead, you will act wickedly and turn away from the path that I enjoined upon you, and that in time to come misfortune will befall you for having done evil in the sight of the Eternal, whom you vexed by your deeds.

30] Then Moses recited the words of the following poem to the very end, in the hearing of the whole congregation of Israel.

Translation from The Torah: A Modern Commentary, copyright (c) 2016 by CCAR Press. All rights reserved. Translation of Exodus; Leviticus; Numbers; Deuteronomy from NJPS © 1962, 1985, 1999; CJPS © 2006. Used and adapted by CCAR Press with permission from The Jewish Publication Society and the University of Nebraska Press. No part of this translation may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, distributed, or be transmitted without express written permission from the Central Conference of American Rabbis. For permission, please contact CCAR Press.