The shortest Parshah in the Torah, Vayelech, is introduced as Moshe comforts the Jews regarding his impending death, as he was about to die at the age of 120 years, Moshe called his successor, Yehoshua, and honored him in the presence of all the Jews and clothed him in royal attire, seated him on his own chair and placed the crown on his head and in turn all the Jews accepted Yehoshua as their new leader, as he was to take them over the Jordan river into Israel (Devarim 31:3). Yehoshua deserved to become Moshe’s successor as he was Moshe’s star pupil; he was always by his side learning Torah and even waited for him on the foot of Mount Sinai for 40 days!! This alone earned him the respect of Klal Yisrael! He was very much a man that loved the Jewish nation (Eruvin 22b).
The Parshah continues with instructions of the ceremony of ‘Hakhail’ – this was where the national assembly gathered once every seven years to hear the King read the Torah (Devarim 31:10-13/ Chagigah 3a)), the king was required to read a number of passages from the book of Devarim. The aim of the mitzvah of ‘Hakhail’ was to strengthen the Jewish people in Torah and fear of G-d and it was a mitzvah observed by all the righteous kings. The righteous King Agrippa, always stood while reading the Torah, the sages gave him much praise for this act (Sota 41).
Moshe then petitioned to Hashem so that his death decree would be annulled, however it was to no avail as he was about to die. In fact it was on the 7th of Adar that Moshe would die, this was the same date that he was born. Several reasons are suggested why Moshe died, including, Moshe failed to sanctify Hashem’s name when he hit the rock instead of speaking to the rock to give forth water (as related in Parshah Chukat (Bamidbar 20:9-13)), another popular reason is, is that Moshe had to die due to the ‘death decree,’ that G-d gave to all of man kind, after Adam ate from the tree as related in the first parshah in the Torah, Bereishit (Medrash Tanhuma Vaetchanan).
However in a way Moshe never really died, just like a righteous man is always considered as living, because his good deeds are still being filtered on to other people and generations. The actions one does in this world effect many people, one could be in the physical sense dead, however if people learned from his good actions and performed these good deeds, the ‘physically dead’ person will get credit for every good action that was learned from him and whenever another performs these good deeds.
Further on in Parshat Vayelech, Moshe warned the Jews to acknowledge G-d’s justice for when in future times they were to be punished for idol worship (Devarim 31:29). In fact, the Jews behaved very well during the 28 tenure of Joshua’s leadership, however as they failed to eradicate the wicked idolatress presence of the Canaanim during these years, many of these wicked people encouraged idol worship across Israel, and many faltered later on as related in the books of Shoftim, Samuel and Melachim.
Vayelech highlights the mitzvah for every Jewish man to write a Sefer Torah for himself, however in this day and age many people buy sefarim (books of Torah literature) instead, and it is also customary to buy a share in a communal Sefer Torah and it is the practice for the men of the community to trace in the last words of the Sefer Torah, binding them together in a symbolic way comparable to the binding of the whole Jewish nation together during the sacred ceremony of ‘Hakhail.’.
The Haftorah for this week’s reading comes from three different prophets, Hosea, Micah and Joel (Hosea 14:2-10, Joel 2:11-27, Micah 7:18-20), these three prophets make up a quarter of the total of the ’12 later prophets.’
This Dvar Torah is dedicated to Yaffit Rachel Bat Sara Perel to find her suitable partner this year, please everyone pray for this to be happen with the right man!
Have a Fantastic and Incredible Shabbat. Shabbat Shalom!!!