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V'zos Habrucho


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Providing a short summary of the Torah portion read
in the Synagogue on Shabbat.
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V'zos Habrucho

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Published and copyright © by Avrohom Gedalia Gershon

  Ha-azinuShabbos Chol Hamoed  

This is V'zos Habrucho, the concluding parsha of the Torah. It is not read on a Shabbat, instead it is read during the first part of the Torah reading on Simchas Torah, when all males thirteen and older get honored with an aliyah during the reading of the last part of the Torah. This is immediately followed by the reading of the beginning of parsha Beraishis at the beginning of the Torah. Thus the annual cycle of reading the Torah begins again.

The first aliyah takes place, like the whole book of Devarim does, with the Jewish people just across the Jordan river from Israel, before entering the land of Israel, after wandering in the desert for 40 years. In this aliyah, Moshe begins a blessing of the Jewish people, blessing them just before he passes away. In the beginning of the blessing are some comments by Rashi that tell some noteworthy things: that the Torah existed long before the world was created, and that G-d first offered the Torah to other nations before offering it to the Jews, but the other nations didn't want it. Here also is the pussok "Torah tziva lonu Moshe morasha k'hilos Yakov," meaning "Moshe commanded us the law, an inheritance of the congregation of Yakov". This is one of the 12 pussukim the Lubavitcher Rebbe wants all Jewish children to memorize, and is the first thing a child, just learning to talk, should be taught. This first aliyah also contains specific blessings for the tribes of Reuven and Yehuda.

The second aliyah contains blessings for the tribes of Levi and Binyamin. Levi is praised for being upright with G-d in all the matters in the desert. For instance, they did not participate in the Golden Calf, and they alone circumcised their children in the desert. Moshe blessed Levi that they should strike through the loins of those who rise up against them. One time this was fulfilled was in the era of the second temple, when the Hasmonean family (who were descended from Levi) overcame the Greek army. Binyamin's blessing led to the Bais Hamikdash being built in his portion, may it be speedily be rebuilt in our days, Amen.

The third aliyah contains the blessing for the tribes descended from Yosef. Their land shall yield more beautiful produce than any other portion. The Midrash says that the reason for this blessing is because of Yosef's refusal to listen to Potifer's wife's persuasion, the opposite of Adam harishon, who, because he listened to his wife and sinned, the earth was cursed.

The fourth aliyah contains the blessings for the tribes of Zevulun and Yissachar, and Gad. Zevulun and Yissachar are blessed together in one blessing because they were partners: Zevulun would be merchants, and take half of their profits to support Yissachar, whose occupation was to study Torah. Since Zevulun's support made Yissachar's Torah study possible, Zevulun is listed first in this blessing. But this aliyah also mentions the Torah study of Zevulun, indicating that even those who support Torah study are obligated to study Torah themselves. Gad is blessed with strength since their portion is across the Jordan from Israel, where there is more danger from enemies. They are blessed also for choosing the portion where Moshe's burial place would be.

The fifth aliyah contains the blessings for the tribes of Dan, Naftali, and Asher. Dan's blessing is that he be as strong as a lion, since his territory would be at the north of Israel and protect the land. Naftali is blessed so that his portion should satisfy anyone who lives there. Specifically, the fruits were known to be luscious and beautiful. Asher was blessed with bountiful olives for oil, and with beautiful children. His daughters were known to be exceptionally beautiful, and married men of high office.

The sixth aliyah contains the conclusion to Moshe's blessing of the Jewish people just before he is about to pass away. He tells them that there is none like G-d, and that He is the mightiest above and below. Moshe blesses them that they should live in safety and plenty.

The seventh aliyah is the last aliyah in the Torah. Here, Moshe rabenu climbs up to the top of mount Nevo on a cliff opposite Jericho. G-d shows Moshe all of the land of Israel. Then Moshe passes away on the seventh of Adar and is buried in an unknown place. He is 120 years old when he passes away, and the Jewish people mourn him for 30 days. The Torah says that no other prophet has arisen like Moshe who knew G-d face to face.

Chazak chazak v'nischazek
Conclusion of one year of "The Weekly Torah" with the help of G-d, may He be blessed and exalted.

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