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The Necessary Steps to Ready Ourselves for Repentance

In the realm of profound and fruitful parshiyot, Va-et’chanan looms large. In one stream of chapters, we both relive Revelation — the Ten Commandments — and receive the most succinct summary of our emerging theology — the Sh’ma. And yet, even before we reach these transformational texts, Va-et’chanan captures our attention.

D'var Torah By: 
Preparing Ourselves for Prayer
Davar Acher By: 
Cantor Lauren Phillips Fogelman

The arrival of Parashat Va-et’chanan on Shabbat Nachamu reminds us that effective prayer is best achieved when we take the time to focus and organize our thoughts. This advice serves us well as we approach the upcoming Yamim Nora-im, a period of preparation and sanctity that launches amidst a series of structured countdowns.

Learning About Life by Learning Torah

 “You shall teach them diligently to your children and shall talk of them ... ” (Deuteronomy 6:7). While we don’t agree on much, over time and space we religiously minded Jews do seem to agree on one central thing: the supreme importance of the study of Torah. As modern scientific fields of study and new Jewish movements have emerged, many ask, “Why study the Torah?’ I propose four answers to this question.

D'var Torah By: 
The Meaning of the Instruction, You Shall Teach Them to Your Children
Davar Acher By: 
Rabbi Ahuva Zaches

Using Deuteronomy 6:7 from this week’s Torah portion, Va-et’chanan, as her springboard, Rabbi Dr. Rachel Sabath Beit-Halachmi explored the ultimate question of Torah study above: “Why study Torah?” Regarding potential motivations, she described four essentials that a student of Torah may be seeking....I would like to add to this list a fifth motivation for Torah study, namely the sharpening of one’s intellect.

When Imploring Fails to Give Us What We Want

In Parashat Va-et’chanan, Moses tells how he pleaded with God to let him enter the Promised Land and how that request was denied. In the passages that follow, Moses offers us an example of how to persevere despite the deep disappointment of not attaining one’s dreams.

D'var Torah By: 
Moses’ Final Lesson
Davar Acher By: 
Rabbi Ruth A. Zlotnick

In Va-et'chanan, Moses gazes on the Promised Land and comes to grips with the fact that he will not enter it. He uses his remaining time to confer instruction and blessing on the Israelites who will carry his teachings forward after his passing.

Monotheism and the Problem of Truth

"You shall have no other gods beside Me!" This is the first of Aseret HaDib'rot, literally the "Ten Declarations" or "Ten Commandments" found in this week's parashah, Va-et'chanan (see Deuteronomy 5:2-18; we recited a slightly different version earlier in the year in Parashat Yitro, Exodus, chapter 20). Aseret HaDib'rot lays out the central terms of an exclusive covenant between God and Israel. After a brief prologue in which God self-identifies as the One who freed Israel from Egyptian bondage, the first declaration occurs in the form of a command that Israel take no other gods in addition to the God of Israel: "You shall have no other gods beside Me!"

D'var Torah By: 
Relentless Striving for Truth Helps Us Connect to God
Davar Acher By: 
Dan Moskovitz

My teacher Dr. Revuen Firestone raises critical questions in his commentary on this week's parashah: Is there one "Truth" (with a capital T)? Can there be multiple truths? He concludes, as our Torah teaches, that some truths are beyond our understanding, some answers will always elude us. But we are duty bound as Jews to pursue them even if we are "striving after wind" (Ecclesiastes 1:14).

Torah: Rules or Wisdom?

Life is full of rules and regulations that we follow on a daily basis.

D'var Torah By: 
An Unforgivable Act
Davar Acher By: 
Jennifer Jaech

Only one of the laws listed in Va-et'chanan includes a statement that God will not forgive the person who violates it.

Do Not Make Yourself a Pesel, Lest Torah Become an Idol

In the next parashah, Moses will tell the Israelite people: "Thereupon the Eternal One said to me, 'Carve out two tablets of stone like the first, and come up to Me on the mountain; and ma

D'var Torah By: 
The Living Torah
Davar Acher By: 
Batsheva H. Meiri

Further building on the idea that within Torah and its seeming inconsistencies lie the many refractions of Divine truth, and the suggestion by Rabbi Milgrom that one can make an idol of Torah by li

Va-et’chanan: “Talking Torah"

Parenting is not only the greatest blessing of my life, but it is also the most incredible learning experience of my Judaism. 

D'var Torah By: 
I Was There; So Were You!
Davar Acher By: 
Fred Greene

I enjoyed Rabbi Perlin's teaching about how to "talk Torah" and the power of engagement through conversations with others.

Staying Hungry

You might think that religion would be most successful in societies where a particular religion is able to establish itself and maintain a monopoly, but history has shown that this is not the case.

D'var Torah By: 
Moving Our Youth toward Reform Judaism
Davar Acher By: 
Daniel Treiser

In her commentary on Parashat Va-et'chanan, Rabbi Aron beautifully highlights God's concern for the Israelites' complacency when they enter the Land of Israel and inherit the weal

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