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Va’etchanan | ואתחנן | “And I pleaded ” Torah Portion Reading
Complete Jewish Bible (CJB)
Parashah 45: Va’etchanan (I pleaded) 3:23–7:11
23 “Then I pleaded with Adonai, 24 ‘Adonai Elohim, you have begun to reveal your greatness to your servant, and your strong hand — for what other god is there in heaven or on earth that can do the works and mighty deeds that you do? 25 Please! Let me go across and see the good land on the other side of the Yarden, that wonderful hill-country and the L’vanon!’ 26 But Adonai was angry with me on account of you, and he didn’t listen to me. Adonai said to me, ‘Enough from you! Don’t say another word to me about this matter! 27 Climb up to the top of Pisgah and look out to the west, north, south and east. Look with your eyes — but you will not go across this Yarden. 28 However, commission Y’hoshua, encourage him and strengthen him; for he will lead this people across and enable them to inherit the land that you will see.’ 29 So we stayed in the valley across from Beit-P‘or.
4 “Now, Isra’el, listen to the laws and rulings I am teaching you, in order to follow them, so that you will live; then you will go in and take possession of the land that Adonai, the God of your fathers, is giving you. 2 In order to obey the mitzvot of Adonai your God which I am giving you, do not add to what I am saying, and do not subtract from it. 3 You saw with your own eyes what Adonai did at Ba‘al-P‘or, that Adonai destroyed from among you all the men who followed Ba‘al-P‘or; 4 but you who stuck with Adonai your God are still alive today, every one of you. (ii) 5 Look, I have taught you laws and rulings, just as Adonai my God ordered me, so that you can behave accordingly in the land where you are going in order to take possession of it. 6 Therefore, observe them; and follow them; for then all peoples will see you as having wisdom and understanding. When they hear of all these laws, they will say, ‘This great nation is surely a wise and understanding people.’ 7 For what great nation is there that has God as close to them as Adonai our God is, whenever we call on him? 8 What great nation is there that has laws and rulings as just as this entire Torah which I am setting before you today? 9 Only be careful, and watch yourselves diligently as long as you live, so that you won’t forget what you saw with your own eyes, so that these things won’t vanish from your hearts. Rather, make them known to your children and grandchildren — 10 the day you stood before Adonai your God at Horev, when Adonai said to me, ‘Gather the people to me, and I will make them hear my very words, so that they will learn to hold me in awe as long as they live on earth, and so that they will teach their children.’ 11 You approached and stood at the foot of the mountain; and the mountain blazed with fire to the heart of heaven, with darkness, clouds and thick mist. 12 Then Adonai spoke to you out of the fire! You heard the sound of words but saw no shape, there was only a voice. 13 He proclaimed his covenant to you, which he ordered you to obey, the Ten Words; and he wrote them on two stone tablets. 14 At that time Adonai ordered me to teach you laws and rulings, so that you would live by them in the land you are entering in order to take possession of it.
15 “Therefore, watch out for yourselves! Since you did not see a shape of any kind on the day Adonai spoke to you in Horev from the fire, 16 do not become corrupt and make yourselves a carved image having the shape of any figure — not a representation of a human being, male or female, 17 or a representation of any animal on earth, or a representation of any bird that flies in the air, 18 or a representation of anything that creeps along on the ground, or a representation of any fish in the water below the shoreline. 19 For the same reason, do not look up at the sky, at the sun, moon, stars and everything in the sky, and be drawn away to worship and serve them; Adonai your God has allotted these to all the peoples under the entire sky. 20 No, you Adonai has taken and brought out of the smelting furnace, out of Egypt, to be a people of inheritance for him, as you are today.
21 “But Adonai was angry with me on account of you and swore that I would not cross the Yarden and go into that good land, which Adonai your God is giving you to inherit. 22 Rather, I must die in this land and not cross the Yarden; but you are to cross and take possession of that good land. 23 Watch out for yourselves, so that you won’t forget the covenant of Adonai your God, which he made with you, and make yourself a carved image, a representation of anything forbidden to you by Adonai your God. 24 For Adonai your God is a consuming fire, a jealous God.
25 “When you have had children and grandchildren, lived a long time in the land, become corrupt and made a carved image, a representation of something, and thus done what is evil in the sight of Adonai your God and provoked him; 26 I call on the sky and the earth to witness against you today that you will quickly disappear from the land that you are crossing the Yarden to possess. You will not prolong your days there but will be completely destroyed. 27 Adonai will scatter you among the peoples; and among the nations to which Adonai will lead you away, you will be left few in number. 28 There you will serve gods which are the product of human hands, made of wood and stone, which can’t see, hear, eat or smell. 29 However, from there you will seek Adonai your God; and you will find him if you search after him with all your heart and being. 30 In your distress, when all these things have come upon you, in the acharit-hayamim, you will return to Adonai your God and listen to what he says; 31 for Adonai your God is a merciful God. He will not fail you, destroy you, or forget the covenant with your ancestors which he swore to them.
32 “Indeed, inquire about the past, before you were born: since the day God created human beings on the earth, from one end of heaven to the other, has there ever been anything as wonderful as this? Has anyone heard anything like it? 33 Did any other people ever hear the voice of God speaking out of a fire, as you have heard, and stay alive? 34 Or has God ever tried to go and take for himself a nation from the very bowels of another nation, by means of ordeals, signs, wonders, war, a mighty hand, an outstretched arm and great terrors — like all that Adonai your God did for you in Egypt before your very eyes? 35 This was shown to you, so that you would know that Adonai is God, and there is no other beside him. 36 From heaven he caused you to hear his voice, in order to instruct you; and on earth he caused you to see his great fire; and you heard his very words coming out from the fire. 37 Because he loved your ancestors, chose their descendants after them and brought you out of Egypt with his presence and great power, 38 in order to drive out ahead of you nations greater and stronger than you, so that he could bring you in and give you their land as an inheritance, as is the case today; 39 know today, and establish it in your heart, that Adonai is God in heaven above and on earth below — there is no other. 40 Therefore, you are to keep his laws and mitzvot which I am giving you today, so that it will go well with you and with your children after you, and so that you will prolong your days in the land Adonai your God is giving you forever.”
(A: iii) 41 Then Moshe separated three cities on the east side of the Yarden, toward the sunrise, 42 to which a killer might flee, that is, someone who kills by mistake a person whom he did not previously hate, and upon fleeing to one of these cities might live there. 43 The cities were Betzer in the desert, in the flatland, for the Re’uveni; Ramot in Gil‘ad for the Gadi; and Golan in Bashan for the M’nashi.
44 This is the Torah which Moshe placed before the people of Isra’el — 45 these are the instructions, laws and rulings which Moshe presented to the people of Isra’el after they had come out of Egypt — 46 beyond the Yarden River, in the valley across from Beit-P‘or, in the land of Sichon king of the Emori, who lived at Heshbon, whom Moshe and the people of Isra’el defeated when they came out of Egypt; 47 and they took possession of his land and the land of ‘Og king of Bashan, the two kings of the Emori, who were beyond the Yarden toward the sunrise; 48 from ‘Aro‘er on the edge of the Arnon Valley to Mount Si’on,” that is, Mount Hermon, 49 “with all the ‘Aravah beyond the Yarden eastward, all the way to the Dead Sea at the foot of the slopes of Pisgah.
5 (A: iv, S: iii) Then Moshe called to all Isra’el and said to them, “Listen, Isra’el, to the laws and rulings which I am announcing in your hearing today, so that you will learn them and take care to obey them. 2 Adonai our God made a covenant with us at Horev. 3 Adonai did not make this covenant with our fathers, but with us — with us, who are all of us here alive today. 4 Adonai spoke with you face to face from the fire on the mountain. 5 At that time I stood between Adonai and you in order to tell you what Adonai was saying; because, on account of the fire, you were afraid and wouldn’t go up onto the mountain. He said,
א 6 “‘I am Adonai your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, where you lived as slaves.
ב 7 “‘You are to have no other gods before me. 8 You are not to make for yourselves a carved image or any kind of representation of anything in heaven above, on the earth beneath or in the water below the shoreline — 9 you are not to bow down to them or serve them; for I, Adonai your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sins of the parents, also the third and fourth generation of those who hate me, 10 but displaying grace to the thousandth generation of those who love me and obey my mitzvot.
ג 11 “‘You are not to misuse the name of Adonai your God, because Adonai will not leave unpunished someone who misuses his name.
ד 12 “‘Observe the day of Shabbat, to set it apart as holy, as Adonai your God ordered you to do. 13 You have six days to labor and do all your work, 14 but the seventh day is a Shabbat for Adonai your God. On it you are not to do any kind of work — not you, your son or your daughter, not your male or female slave, not your ox, your donkey or any of your other livestock, and not the foreigner staying with you inside the gates to your property — so that your male and female servants can rest just as you do. 15 You are to remember that you were a slave in the land of Egypt, and Adonai your God brought you out from there with a strong hand and an outstretched arm. Therefore Adonai your God has ordered you to keep the day of Shabbat.
ה 16 “‘Honor your father and mother, as Adonai your God ordered you to do, so that you will live long and have things go well with you in the land Adonai your God is giving you.
ו 17 “‘Do not murder.
ז (18) “‘Do not commit adultery.
ח (19) “‘Do not steal.
ט (20) “‘Do not give false evidence against your neighbor.
י 18 (21) “‘Do not covet your neighbor’s wife; do not covet your neighbor’s house, his field, his male or female slave, his ox, his donkey or anything that belongs to your neighbor.’
(A: v, S: iv) 19 (22) “These words Adonai spoke to your entire gathering at the mountain from fire, cloud and thick mist, in a loud voice; then it ceased. But he wrote them on two stone tablets, which he gave to me. 20 (23) When you heard the voice coming out of the darkness, as the mountain blazed with fire, you came to me, all the heads of your tribes and your leaders, 21 (24) and said, ‘Here, Adonai our God has shown us his glory and his greatness! We have heard his voice coming from the fire, and we have seen today that God does speak with human beings, and they stay alive. 22 (25) But why should we keep risking death? This great fire will consume us! If we hear the voice of Adonai our God any more, we will die! 23 (26) For who is there of all humanity that has heard the voice of the living God speaking from the fire, as we have, and stayed alive? 24 (27) You, go near; and hear everything Adonai our God says. Then you will tell us everything Adonai our God says to you; and we will listen to it and do it.’
25 (28) “Adonai heard what you were saying when you spoke to me, and Adonai said to me, ‘I have heard what this people has said when speaking to you, and everything they have said is good. 26 (29) Oh, how I wish their hearts would stay like this always, that they would fear me and obey all my mitzvot; so that it would go well with them and their children forever. 27 (30) Go, tell them to return to their tents. 28 (31) But you, stand here by me; and I will tell you all the mitzvot, laws and rulings which you are to teach them, so that they can obey them in the land I am giving them as their possession.’
29 (32) “Therefore you are to be careful to do as Adonai your God has ordered you; you are not to deviate either to the right or the left. 30 (33) You are to follow the entire way which Adonai your God has ordered you; so that you will live, things will go well with you, and you will live long in the land you are about to possess.
6 “Now this is the mitzvah, the laws and rulings which Adonai your God ordered me to teach you for you to obey in the land you are crossing over to possess, 2 so that you will fear Adonai your God and observe all his regulations and mitzvot that I am giving you — you, your child and your grandchild — as long as you live, and so that you will have long life. 3 Therefore listen, Isra’el, and take care to obey, so that things will go well with you, and so that you will increase greatly, as Adonai, the God of your ancestors, promised you by giving you a land flowing with milk and honey.
(A:vi, S: v) 4 “Sh’ma, Yisra’el! Adonai Eloheinu, Adonai echad [Hear, Isra’el! Adonai our God, Adonai is one]; 5 and you are to love Adonai your God with all your heart, all your being and all your resources. 6 These words, which I am ordering you today, are to be on your heart; 7 and you are to teach them carefully to your children. You are to talk about them when you sit at home, when you are traveling on the road, when you lie down and when you get up. 8 Tie them on your hand as a sign, put them at the front of a headband around your forehead, 9 and write them on the door-frames of your house and on your gates.
(S: vi) 10 “When Adonai your God has brought you into the land he swore to your ancestors Avraham, Yitz’chak and Ya‘akov that he would give you — cities great and prosperous, which you didn’t build; 11 houses full of all sorts of good things, which you didn’t fill; water cisterns dug out, which you didn’t dig; vineyards and olive trees, which you didn’t plant — and you have eaten your fill; 12 then be careful not to forget Adonai, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, where you lived as slaves. 13 You are to fear Adonai your God, serve him and swear by his name. 14 You are not to follow other gods, chosen from the gods of the peoples around you; 15 because Adonai, your God, who is here with you, is a jealous God. If you do, the anger of Adonai your God will flare up against you and he will destroy you from the face of the earth. 16 Do not put Adonai your God to the test, as you tested him at Massah [testing]. 17 Observe diligently the mitzvot of Adonai your God, and his instructions and laws which he has given you. 18 You are to do what is right and good in the sight of Adonai, so that things will go well with you, and you will enter and possess the good land Adonai swore to your ancestors, 19 expelling all your enemies ahead of you, as Adonai said.
20 “Some day your child will ask you, ‘What is the meaning of the instructions, laws and rulings which Adonai our God has laid down for you?’ 21 Then you will tell your child, ‘We were slaves to Pharaoh in Egypt, and Adonai brought us out of Egypt with a strong hand. 22 Adonai worked great and terrible signs and wonders against Egypt, Pharaoh and all his household, before our very eyes. 23 He brought us out from there in order to bring us to the land he had sworn to our ancestors that he would give us. 24 Adonai ordered us to observe all these laws, to fear Adonai our God, always for our own good, so that he might keep us alive, as we are today. 25 It will be righteousness for us if we are careful to obey all these mitzvot before Adonai our God, just as he ordered us to do.’”
7 (vii) “Adonai your God is going to bring you into the land you will enter in order to take possession of it, and he will expel many nations ahead of you — the Hitti, Girgashi, Emori, Kena‘ani, P’rizi, Hivi and Y’vusi, seven nations bigger and stronger than you. 2 When he does this, when Adonai your God hands them over ahead of you, and you defeat them, you are to destroy them completely! Do not make any covenant with them. Show them no mercy. 3 Don’t intermarry with them — don’t give your daughter to his son, and don’t take his daughter for your son. 4 For he will turn your children away from following me in order to serve other gods. If this happens, the anger of Adonai will flare up against you, and he will quickly destroy you. 5 No, treat them this way: break down their altars, smash their standing-stones to pieces, cut down their sacred poles and burn up their carved images completely. 6 For you are a people set apart as holy for Adonai your God. Adonai your God has chosen you out of all the peoples on the face of the earth to be his own unique treasure. 7 Adonai didn’t set his heart on you or choose you because you numbered more than any other people — on the contrary, you were the fewest of all peoples. 8 Rather, it was because Adonai loved you, and because he wanted to keep the oath which he had sworn to your ancestors, that Adonai brought you out with a strong hand and redeemed you from a life of slavery under the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt. (Maftir) 9 From this you can know that Adonai your God is indeed God, the faithful God, who keeps his covenant and extends grace to those who love him and observe his mitzvot, to a thousand generations. 10 But he repays those who hate him to their face and destroys them. He will not be slow to deal with someone who hates him; he will repay him to his face. 11 Therefore, you are to keep the mitzvot, laws and rulings which I am giving you today, and obey them.
Haftarah Va’etchanan: Yesha‘yahu (Isaiah) 40:1–26
B’rit Hadashah suggested readings for Parashah Va’etchanan: Mattityahu (Matthew) 4:1–11; 22:33–40; Mark 12:28–34; Luke 4:1–13; 10:25–37; Acts 13:13–43; Romans 3:27–31; 1 Timothy 2:4–6; Ya‘akov (James) 2:14–26; and all the readings for Parashah 17
Complete Jewish Bible (CJB)Copyright © 1998 by David H. Stern. All rights reserved.
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