Vayeilech, Deuteronomy 31:1-31:30 – Parashat ha Shavuah for Saturday, September 4, 2021

This Shabbat, falling between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, is called Shabbat Shuvah the Sabbath of Return. We are deep into the High Holy Days, the time that human beings draw closest to God, according to our tradition. 

In this week’s Torah portion Moses instructs the Israelites to come together every seventh year to reread the Torah and recommit to the covenant, “Gather the people—men, women, children, and the strangers in your communities—that they may hear and so learn to revere the LORD your God and to observe faithfully every word of this Teaching.” (Deuteronomy 31:12) 

In last week’s Torah portion, Nitzavim, we read that all Israel stood at Sinai, including those not yet born, so why do the Israelites need to recommit to the covenant every seven years? 

For a tradition to live, we must turn to it with our needs and the problems of our times. It is not enough to hear it once; we must continue to reinvigorate with a new commitment and this is what we can do during the High Holy Days. To recommit ourselves to living authentic Jewish lives and acting as Jews to help build the world that God imagined during creation, but left incomplete. 

See you on Kol Nidre. May we all be inscribed for a good year.