Sunday, July 22, 2007

Vaeschanan Summary

Moshe relates how he implored G-d to permit him to enter into the Land of Israel. However G-d chastised Moshe, and told him that he should look out over the land, but that he would not be able to enter into it. Moshe tells the people to continue to observe the commandments which G-d has given them, and never to forget the revelation that they saw at Mount Sinai. They should tell their children and their children after them how they heard G-d's voice from the midst of the fire on top of the mountain that was shrouded in darkness and cloud. They received the Ten Commandments at that time, and the other laws were given to them through Moshe. They are commanded not to make any graven image.
Moshe reminds the people how fortunate they are to be entering into the Land of Israel, and that he will not be able to go with them. Being in Israel will have special tests of faith, and the Jews must remain strong in their belief and not forsake G-d. Moshe prophecies however that in future generations they will turn their backs on G-d, and that as a result of this they will be banished from the land, and be scattered amongst the nations of the earth. However, even in the midst of the exile G-d will not abandon the Jews, but will wait for them to repent and return to Him. Then He will bring them out of exile, as He brought them out of Egypt.
Moshe then set aside three cities of refuge on the east bank of the Jordan, for those who commit accidental manslaughter. These are the laws that Moshe expounded before the Children of Israel.
Moshe restates the Ten Commandments:
I am the L-rd your G-d who brought you out of the land of Egypt. You shall have no other gods before Me.
You shall not make any carved image or idol.
You shall not take the name of the L-rd your G-d in vain.
Guard the Shabbat and keep it holy.
Honour your father and you mother.
You shall not murder.
You shall not commit adultery.
You shall not steal.
You shall not bear false witness against your fellow.
You shall not covet that which belongs to another.
These are the laws that G-d spoke to the entire nation. He inscribed them on two tablets of stone which He gave to Moshe. The people beseeched Moshe to act as an intermediary and tell them what G-d said, because they were unable to bear the direct revelation of His presence. Moshe instructs the people to observe all these commandments in order that they should remain in the Land of Israel.
The first paragraph of the Shema is recorded, which states belief in the unity of G-d, and a commitment to studying and observing His commandments. Moshe warns of the dangers that prosperity can bring, causing the people to forget about G-d. However they must remember that it is G-d who gives us this prosperity, and must not turn their backs on Him.
We are prohibited from testing G-d, but should observe the commandments faithfully. We should pass our faith and belief on to our children, and teach them the commandments. G-d commands the Jews that when they enter the Land of Israel they must utterly destroy the seven nations that are there, and completely destroy all of their idols and temples.

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