Vayelech: Naming Rights

September 11, 2020 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
We tend to think that the names of the weekly parshiot have little intrinsic meaning; they are just taken from the opening word or two of the parsha. Thus, breisheet, being the first word of the Bible, becomes the name for both the first book and the weekly parsha. Upon closer examination we begin to realize that it might not be quite that simple. For example, two of the parshiot in sefer...
Continue Reading »

Vayelech: Poetic Licence

October 03, 2019 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
"Now, write for yourselves this song and teach it to the Israelites, so that this song will be a witness for the Israelites" (Devarim 31:19). The simple meaning of this verse is a command to write shirat Ha'azinu, the Song of Ha'azinu, which bears witness to the tragedies that await the Jewish people if they do not follow the Torah. Nonetheless, our Sages (Sanhedrin 21b) derived...
Continue Reading »

VaYelech: The Last Message

September 14, 2018 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
The time has come for new leadership. “I am no longer able to come and go, and G-d has told me you will not cross the Jordan” (Devarim 31:2). While the people complained plenty about Moshe's leadership, clearly they were very nervous about him leaving the scene. Moshe reassured the people that all will be fine with Yehoshua, and that he, too, will have Divine assistance in his mission. Yehoshua was also nervous. How was he...
Continue Reading »

Vayelech: 1…613

October 07, 2016 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
“Today I [Moshe] am 120 years old, and I can no longer come and go." (Devarim 31:2). After 40 years of dedicated leadership, it was time to turn the reins over to Yehoshua, who would be the one to lead during the conquest of the land of Israel. Despite the constant complaining that Moshe faced, the people were nervous about such a leadership transition at this crucial point in their history. Moshe reassured the people, telling them...
Continue Reading »

Vayelech: Looking Ahead

September 19, 2014 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
Imagine being told on your deathbed that your life’s work may be for naught. Moshe Rabbeinu put heart and soul into forming a nation that would set up a model state serving G-d in the land of Israel. He literally gave his life for his people, and yet because of them, was denied his greatest wish. “G-d was angry at me because of you, saying you, too, shall not come there [to the land of Israel]" (Devarim 1:37). Nonetheless,...
Continue Reading »