Va'etchanan "And I pleaded"

Deuteronomy 3:23-7:11

Isaiah 40:1-26

Mark 12:28-34


The Torah portion includes the repetition of the Ten Commandments and various statutes, the recitation of the Shema (Hear O Israel), the commandments of Tefillin (Phylacteries) and the placement of the Mezuzah on the doorways of our homes. Deuteronomy 6:8 states, "You shall bind them as sign on your hand and they shall be as frontals on your forehead." The T'fillin are a fulfillment of the commandment to bind GOD's word as a sign upon your hand, set them as a symbol between your eyes. They contain four passages from the Torah which teach: the unity and uniqueness of GOD, recalling the miracle of the Exodus from Egypt, declaring GOD's dominion over all that is in the heavens and on earth, and affirming our duty to serve GOD with all our being.


One is placed on the arm pointing towards the heart, that we may recall GOD's outstretched arm and be reminded to direct our impulses and desires to His service. We place the other box on the head to remind us of our duty to devote all the power of our mind to the service of GOD. Finally we wrap the strap around our middle finger and our hand to form the Hebrew letter shin, representing El Shaddai, the Most High GOD. As we wrap we say this prayer, just as the sages of old: I will betroth you to me forever. I will betroth you with righteousness, justice, with love, and with compassion. I will betroth you to me with faithfulness, and I shall love the Lord, thus says the Lord (Taken from Hosea 2:19-20).


This remarkable symbol of GOD's marriage covenant between us and Him, tells us that GOD has chosen us as His own special people. Now here is the good part, He did not choose us because we are great or numerous, pretty, handsome. No, we were chosen because GOD loved us and has kept His oath to the fathers, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob!


Because He did choose us, we now have a great obligation to Love Him, as the Shema in this Torah portion tells us to do. We are also told that there are consequences for disobedience (Deut.4:3; 30:19-20; Prov.7:2).


This past Tuesday, TishaB'Av was observed as a reminder of the consequences of disobedience (Deut.4:3;30:19-20; Prov.7:2). Yet we know that GOD is merciful, keeping His promises to the fathers to bring His people back not only to the Land, but also to Him, thru repentance, prayer, and obedience.


We have learned that to whom much is given, much is required! The Shema tells us that we must hear, learn, and do the commandments that He has given. When we read GOD's word, we should not only read the word but also listen and do, (James  1:22-25). Fear GOD, pay attention to His commandments (council), and thank Him for getting us ready for the coming of HaShem.


Shavua Tov


Rabbi  Z.

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