This Week’s Torah Portion – Parshah V’Zot HaBerachah – Deuteronomy 33:1-34:12

I discuss the weekly Torah portion with Rabbi Rabbs Mondays at 7:00 pm PST on the Rabbi Rabbs cam and on YouTube. Facebook Fan Page.

This week we study Parshah V’Zot HaBerachah – Deuteronomy 33:1-34:12. More.

Chabad: “The reason that the Torah ends as it does – by alluding to the breaking of the Tablets of the Covenant – is the same reason that we start over again once we’ve finished. Both ideas are rooted in the same principle; we never just finish up and move on. Just when we think we’ve reached the end – when we get to the very last line of the very last portion – we are reminded that the Tablets of the Covenant were once destroyed and had to be remade. So it is with our spiritual journey; there is never a completion, only the reminder that we always start again.”

“As newcomers looking at the Steps for the first time, many of us wondered what we were supposed to do once they were completed. The answer is that our recovery is never finished; it continues by beginning again. We remember that the life we now have was once in a state of apparent destruction, just as the Tablets containing the Word of G-d had been smashed. In our despair, we agreed to let go, and let G-d give us a new life. We learned to trust G-d. We cleaned house; and we repaired our relationships with others. The promises of the Program began to manifest in our lives. And finally, we “had a spiritual awakening as a result of these Steps.” But our spiritual awakening in Step 12 is not the end of our recovery. Our new-found faith and selflessness lead us to an even greater acceptance of the original powerlessness in Step One. Just as we initially admitted to G-d, we start over and surrender again. No matter how many times we have worked through the Steps, we never stop admitting that we are alcoholics and addicts. We admit again that our lives had been unmanageable; for it is with that admission that our renewed spiritual lives begin.”

* How come yeshivas don’t get into succah decorating? Rabbi Berel Wein writes: “In many climes there was no possibility of such decorations. In my youth I remember that in my father’s synagogue’s succah and in the yeshiva’s succah there were little or no decorations. And, they didn’t have much color or any pizzazz attached to them.”

* For how many people is Yom Kippur a spiritual high? What’s wrong with me? I never recall it as a big high. Eating afterwards and drinking and meeting girls, that’s a high. Rabbi Berel Wein writes: “Sukkot comes at the exact right time of the year, psychologically and emotionally speaking. If it were not for the advent of Sukkot and all of the preparations involved regarding this festival of joy and happiness, we would all be very depressed at having to climb down from the pinnacle of Yom Kippur to everyday mundane existence.”

* Rabbi Wein writes: “However, the intermediate days are not to be treated as ordinary workdays. Unnecessary work, work that is easily postponed till after the holidays, lawsuits and other contentious matters, etc. are all not to be pursued during Chol Hamoed. Therefore, in Israel and in many parts of the Diaspora, Chol Hamoed is a vacation and leisure time. Stores and offices are closed and entire families participate in touring, visiting friends and relatives and attending concerts and other forms of entertainment. On Chol Hamoed, holiday clothing and finery is worn and festive meals are served. It is a joyous and sweet time of the year for all concerned, especially for the children who are free of school and their routines for the week.”

About Luke Ford

I've written five books (see My work has been followed by the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and 60 Minutes. I teach Alexander Technique in Beverly Hills (
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