Parshat Vayelech: September 11, 2021 – 5 Tishrei 5782

Shabbat Shalom!

Erev Shabbat Shuva

Friday, September 10

  • Candle lighting: 7:00 pm

Parshat Vayelech & Shabbat Shuva

Shabbat, September 11

  • Stone Chumash p. 887
  • 70 Psukim (verses)
  •  Hosea Ch. 14; Stone Chumash pg. 891 “Shuva Yisrael”

Important Shabbat Times

  • Candle lighting: 7:00 pm
  • Vasikin (Sunrise): 6:43:15 am
  • Latest Morning Shma: 9:51 am
  • Earliest Mincha: 1:31 pm
  • Havdalah: 7:55 pm
  • Zoom Havdalah: 8:10 pm

Highlights from the Parsha

In Parshat Vayelech, Moshe prepares the final farewell address to the people before his death. He explains the final two mitzvot (out of 613). First, the mitzvah of “Hakhel,” the septennial gathering at the Temple to hear the King read from the Torah. Second, the mitzvah which is incumbent on every Jew: to write his own personal Torah!

The Sefer Chinuch explains this second mitzvah in the following unique way. Although the mitzvah preferably should be fulfilled by actually writing a Torah, the Halacha in the Talmud allows for the possibility of a Jew commissioning the Torah from a scribe if one can afford it.

This implies that the point of the mitzvah is not necessarily the literal writing of the Torah, but rather the studying of the Torah. Furthermore, if a father wrote a Torah and the son inherited it, he would still be obligated to write his own Torah. The Chinuch suggests that another aspect of the mitzvah is that the world should be filled with Jewish books!

One might suggest a sadder reason for this. The author of the Chinuch was well aware of the fact that the popes and church officials (at that time, and others) would often collect Hebrew manuscripts and consign them to the flames.

To take just one example, on Rosh Hashanah of the year 5314 (September 9, 1553), Pope Julius III destroyed many cartloads of priceless Jewish books in the Campo dei Fiori in Rome.

One Talmud alone could take a scribe years to copy by hand. Imagine the loss of hundreds of such books. Who knows? Perhaps this is why Hashem commanded each and every Jew to write his own Jewish books?

Miraculously, however, at the same time that these precious books were being burned, a new technology was being practiced a mere thirty miles away in the city of Venice which would ultimately save the Talmud from extinction: the printing press!

In this magnificent Haftorah, the people of Israel are encouraged and inspired to repent. If only we would sincerely repent, and make an effort to change our ways, we would dwell under G-d’s sheltering wings forever! The opening words of our Haftorah give this Shabbat its name: Shabbat Shuva.