Vaetchanan, Deuteronomy 3:23-7:11, Parshat Hashavua for Shabbat, August 13, 2022

Tisha b’Av, which we observed last Sunday, is over. We now begin the Seven Weeks of Consolation that lead up to Rosh Hashanah. This is the time of year when we are called to prepare for the High Holy Days. During this time two essential things to consider are our mortality, what do we want to do with the time we have left to us, and our highest values, what matters the most to us. This week’s Torah portion addresses both these issues. It begins with Moses confronting his own mortality and begging God to allow him to enter the Land of Israel, even though he has been told he will not be allowed to do so. It ends with the Shema and the V’ahavta, the recognition that God is one and that indeed all existence is a great unity and that we are commanded to love God and demonstrate that love by the way we live our lives each day. As it says in Pirkei Avot, “Rabbi Tarfon said: the day is short, and the work is plentiful, the laborers are tired, and the reward is great, and the master of the house is insistent.” What do we want to do with the time we have left?