© 2017 by Shalom Magazine

Parsha Vezot Haberacha

   The Torah draws to its close with V'zot Habracha, which is the only Parsha in the Torah not read specifically on a Shabbat. Rather, V'zot Habracha is read on Shmini Atzeret/Simchat Torah, when everyone in the synagogue gets called up to the Torah for an aliyah -- even young children. The Parsha is repeated until everyone has received an aliyah.

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    Moshe continues the tradition of Yaakov by blessing the Tribes of Israel before his death. Similar to the blessings bestowed by Yaakov, these blessings are also a combination of the description of each Tribe's essence, together with a definition of its role within the nation of Israel. The only Tribe that does not receive a blessing is Shimon, because they were central to the mass immorality of worshipping the idol ba'al pe'or. Another explanation is that this Tribe's population was small and scattered throughout the south of the Land of Israel, and would therefore receive blessings together with the host Tribe, Yehuda, amongst whom they would live. Moshe's last words to his beloved people are of reassurance that Hashem will more than recompense His people for all of the suffering they will endure. Moshe ascends the mountain and Hashem shows him prophetically all that will happen to Eretz Yisrael in the future, both in tranquillity and in times of oppression. Hashem also shows him all that will happen to the Jewish People until the time of the Resurrection. Moshe dies there by means of the "Divine Kiss." To this day, no one knows the place of his burial, in order that his grave should not become a shrine for those who wish to make a prophet into a god. Of all the prophets, Moshe was unique in his being able to speak to Hashem whenever he wanted. His centrality and stature are not a product of the Jewish People's "blind faith," but are based on events that were witnessed by an entire nation -- at the Red Sea, at Mount Sinai and constantly during 40 years of journeying through the desert.