Va’etchanan or Va’eschanan (ואתחנן — Hebrew for “and I pleaded,” the first word in the parshah) is the 45th weekly Torah portion (parshah) in the annual Jewish cycle of Torah reading and the second in the book of Deuteronomy.
The forty-fifth reading from the Torah and the second reading from the book of Deuteronomy is named Va’etchanan (ואתחנן), which means “and I besought.” The title comes from the first verse of the reading, which says, “I also pleaded (va’etchanan) with HaShem at that time” (Deuteronomy 3:23).
The portion completes the historical prologue of the Deuteronomy covenant document and begins a rehearsal of the stipulations. Part of that rehearsal is a repetition of the Ten Commandments and the famous first passage of the Shema: Deuteronomy 6:4–9.
Parshas Va’etchanan continues with Moshe Rabeinu’s rebuke of the Jewish nation right before he is to pass away, as the Jews are poised just across the Jordan river from entering into the holy land.
1st & 2nd Aliyot: Moshe beseeched HaShem to enter the Land. However, he seemingly blamed the nation when his request was turned down. Moshe explained the foundation of our divine mission, which will be recognized by the other nations. Moshe stressed allegiance to HaShem and the consequences to ourselves and our children if we do not keep the law.
3rd & 4th Aliyot: Moshe designated the Cities of Refuge, and reviewed the entire experience of Revelation.
4th, 5th & 6th Aliyot: Moshe stressed the reaction of the nation after te giving of the Torah, and forewarned them not deviate from the Torah, either to the right or the to the left. The first paragraph of Shema is recorded. (6:10-15) Moshe warned the people about the dangers of prosperity, and directed them to keep the commandments and remember the Exodus. Moshe forewarned them about the dangers of assimilation and told them to always remember that they are the Chosen People.
Moshe ends the parsha by telling us that God is faithful to keep His covenant with those that love him and keep his commandments, therefore we should keep his mitzvot and do them.
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