The weekly Torah portion (Hebrew: פָּרָשַׁת הַשָּׁבוּעַ Parashat ha-Shavua, popularly just parasha) is a section of the Torah read publicly and aloud in weekly Jewish prayer services, usually in full during the Shabbat (Saturday, the Jewish Sabbath). Each week, the ECI Young Adults are providing us with a commentary on the week’s parasha.
Va’etchanan (וָאֶתְחַנַּן — Hebrew for “and I pleaded,” Deuteronomy 3:23-7:11)
Moses, the man who has lead the Children of Israel for almost 40 years, is nearing the end of his life. The old generation of slaves is nearly dead and their children who watched God deliver them from Egypt is now a trained and experienced army. Seeing so much of God’s power and faithfulness, Moses pleaded to God asking that he be allowed to enter into the promise land. Moses had only ever seen from a distance the future fulfillment of God’s promises and for 40 years has waited to see it. But alas the Lord said “no.” The Lord then commands Moses to appoint, encourage, and instruct Joshua. Moses is instructed to prepare the next generation for the purposes of God. Moses gathers Israel and teaches them in what it means to walk before the Holy God. This instruction culminates in the “Shema” which is quoted at Shabbats to this day as a reminder to the future generations.
Deuteronomy 6:4-7 “ Hear (Shema), O, Israel. The Lord our God, The Lord is one. And you shall love Jeh-vah your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words which I command you this day shall be in your heart. And you shall carefully teach them to your sons…
The purpose and promises of God are generational. He is after all the God of Abraham, Isaac, & Jacob. As we look at the rest of the reading we see Moses preparing the next generation to take hold of the promises that God gave to their forefathers. God commands Moses to instruct & encourage the next generation of leaders in their purpose. Moses reminds the current generation of God’s power and sovereignty, of His righteousness and mercy. In all of this Moses instructs them to walk in the fear of the Lord and to make no treaty with any country but to thoroughly drive them out.
In our own lives we must remember what God has done in the past through the sacrifices of others. We stand at the edge of the promised land ready to go in and take it because of the faithful obedience of righteous men and women who have gone before us. Like Israel we must not waver because we cannot make any treaty without compromising our purpose. As we stand ready to take hold of these promise we are reminded that it is faith and obedience walked out in character that allows us to succeed. God does not allow us to have any other love that hinders us from following Him. He is a righteous God calling us into His righteousness through Christ Jesus.
Deuteronomy 6:5-7 “And you shall love Jehovah your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.” And you shall carefully teach them to your sons…
Today Israel is much like it was in during this time in Deuteronomy. The generation that watched Israel grow out of the desert 67 years ago is now watching their children taking leadership. No longer a rag tag group of people in the desert, but now a mature nation. Like Moses it is essential that the next generation receives instruction and encouragement from the former generation. This current generation needs to be reminded that God’s future purpose for them can only be accomplished with an understanding of the nature of God.
The European Coalition for Israel is a unique grassroots movement, which is seeking to promote better relations between Europe and Israel through advocacy and education. More information: www.ec4i.org