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Nitzavim - Vayeilech

Nitzavim - Vayeilech

You Stand [This Day] / [Moses] Went
29:9–30:20, 31:1–30

You stand this day, all of you, before the Eternal your God--you tribal heads, you elders, and you officials, all of the men of Israel, you children, you women, even the stranger within your camp, from woodchopper to water drawer… - Deuteronomy 29:9-10

Moses went and spoke these things to all Israel. 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.'" - Deuteronomy 31:1-2

  • Moses tells the assembled people that God's covenant speaks to them and to all of the generations who will follow. (29:9–14)
  • God warns the Israelites that they will be punished if they act idolatrously, the way the inhabitants of the other nations do. (29:15–28)
  • Moses reassures the people that God will not forsake them and that they can attain blessings by following God's commandments. (30:1–20)
  • Moses prepares the people for his death and announces that Joshua will succeed him. (31:1–8)
  • Moses instructs the priests and the elders regarding the importance of reading the Torah. (31:9–13)
  • God informs Moses that upon his death, the people will commit idolatry and "many evils and troubles shall befall them." God tells Moses to teach the people a poem that will "be My witness." (31:14–30)

When do we read Nitzavim - Vayeilech?

2020 Sep 12
/23 Elul, 5780


  • By Rabbi Professor Marc Saperstein

    Hands grasp railing behind bars in prison

    Nitzavim, combined with the following parashah, Vayeilech, is one of the richest and most powerful in the entire Pentateuch. Our Reform practice is to reprise key verses from it in the morning service for Yom Kippur, so parts of it are likely to be extremely familiar. I would like to focus on one rather perplexing phrase that is not included in our Yom Kippur reading. It appears in chapter 29, verse 19, composed of five simple Hebrew words:

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