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Tuesday, Menachem Av 12, 5779 / August 13, 2019


This Shabbat we read Parshat Va’etchanan, the second Parsha in the book of Deuteronomy.


In this Parsha we read the Ten Commandments. It is the second time that the Ten Commandments are recorded in the Torah – the first time in Parshat Yitro and again here in Parshat Va’etchanan.


There are slight variations between the Ten Commandments as they are in Parshat Yitro and in this week’s Parsha. The commandment to observe Shabbat as recorded in Yitro is to remember that G-d created the world in six days and rested on the seventh. In our Parsha it states the reason for observing is Shabbat is to remember the Exodus from Egypt.


Another highlight in this Parsha is the prayer of “Shema Yisrael” - "Hear O' Israel the L-rd Our G-d the L-rd is One.”  The Shema is recited three times daily; In the morning and evening prayers and again before bedtime.  Reciting the Shema affirms our belief in G-d and proclaims our love for Him.


Being that it is the first Shabbat after the Three Weeks and the fast of Tisha B’Av, when we mourned the destruction of the Temples, this Shabbat is called, “Shabbat Nachmu” – “Shabbat of comfort.”


Q.  Why is this Shabbat called “Shabbat Nachmu”?


A.  The Haftorah for this Shabbat, which we read after the Torah reading, begins with the words, “Nachmu, Nachmu.” In this Haftorah the prophet Isaiah tells the Jewish people, “Find comfort, find comfort my people.” It is one of seven prophecies of comfort we will be reading every Shabbat for the next seven weeks, until Rosh Hashana, which is in seven weeks.


Our sages tell us that G-d’s measure for kindness is much greater than His measure of severity and punishment. Thus, there are only three weeks of reprimand and seven weeks of comfort.


Q.  Why is the word “Nachmu” repeated (“find comfort, find comfort”)?  


A.  The comfort is for the two Temples which were destroyed on Tisha B’Av.  Isaiah, who lived before the destruction of the First Temple, prophesized words of comfort that G-d will not forsake the Jewish people and will in the end bring them back from all exiles and rebuild the Temple.


Q.   The Ten Commandments are found in the book of Exodus, why were they repeated here again?


A.   The entire Fifth Book of the Torah is called, “Mishne Torah” “Repeat of the Torah.”  Moshe takes leave of the Jewish people before his passing, as they are about to enter into the Promised Land. He reviews the Ten Commandments and many of the other commandments.  He reminds them to adhere to all the commandments, so that they may live in peace in the Holy Land.



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