Rabbi Eisen’s Shabbat Shalom Message

Shabbat Shalom!


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Candlelighting for
Friday, September 21, 2018 • 6:02pm

• Our Portion for the Week

DEUTERONOMY 32:1 – 32:52

In this penultimate portion of Deuteronomy (the last of the weekly readings), Moses gives a final message to his people in the form of a song. Just as Moses began his ministry with a song of triumph at the Red Sea, he concludes it with a hymn of joy on the banks of the Jordan, in sight of the Promised Land. The song begins with praise of God for the special care He has given Israel. The people, however, have spurned God and His laws. Because of their unfaithfulness, they will suffer God's wrath, but ultimately He will show mercy and deliver the Israelites from their enemies. Moses adjures the people to take his words seriously and remember that the laws of the Torah are the essence of their lives. God then directs Moses to ascend Mt. Nebo and look at the land promised to the Israelites. Moses is destined to die without entering the land, but he has successfully completed his mission of bringing the people through the wilderness. It will be for another leader to take them into the next stage of their lives.

• Our Question for the Week •

1) Who/what is Moshe calling on to listen to this testimonial poem (32:1)? Why are these good "witnesses"?

2) How will Moshe's words come forward according to 32:2? Try to remember (one of) Moshe's main objections to going to Pharaoh in Exodus (4:10). What seems to have happened to Moshe over 40 years of leadership?

3) God chose the People of Israel and gave us an abundance of sustenance (32:13-14). What did we do in return for getting so much good (32:15-18)? Why do you think that people behave in such manner (which might be termed 'ungrateful')?

4) What is God's reaction to the behavior of the people of Israel (32:19-26)? In this section we are told that God will 'hide My face from them.' What do you think happens when God hides His face?

5) Now that Moshe has completed the task of delivering the poem, he is told to climb to the top of Mount Nebo (32:48-52). What will he do there? Why?