Parshat Vayeilech • Deuteronomy 31:1–30

This week’s Torah portion, Vayeilech, contains a verbal curiosity. Our sacred text, known for its paucity of words — wouldn’t it be nice to know how Sarah felt about the Akeidah or how Aaron responded to the death of his sons Nadav and Abihu — repeats the same phrase twice, duplicating two of the thirty verses found in the portion.

“God will not fail or forsake you.”

It is no coincidence that this message is hammered home during the most spiritually difficult week on the Jewish calendar. During these ten days of repentance, we are asked to account for our transgressions and misdeeds. Is God listening? Are the people we have wronged? Can we move forward from our sometimes shameful actions? T’shuvah – repentance; T’filah – prayer; and T’zedakah – righteous acts avert the severe decree. With serious intention, we read in this week’s Torah portion, God will not fail or forsake you. Ken Yehi Ratzon – May this be God’s will.

Rabbi Aaron C. Meyer