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Friday, Tishrei 5, 5782 / September 30, 2022


This Shabbat is called, “Shabbat Teshuva” – Shabbat of Repentance. It is one of the Ten Days of Teshuva, between Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur. Some call it “Shabbat Shuva”, as the Haftorah this Shabbat begins with the word, “Shuva Yisrael” – Repent Israel.


In this Parsha, on the last day of his life, Moshe encourages Joshua, who will be leading the Jewish people into The Promised Land, to be strong and not fear anyone. He should lead them and not be afraid to conquer the land, for G-d will be with him.   


Moshe encourages the Jewish people to observe the Torah and Mitzvot. In the previous Parsha Moshe told them, “For these Mitzvot which I command you this day, are not concealed from you, nor are they far away. It is not in the skies, that you should say, ‘Who will go up to the skies for us and take it for us and tell it to us, so that we can keep it.’ Nor is it across the sea, that you should say, ‘Who will cross to the other side of the sea and fetch it for us. Rather, it is very close to you, in your mouth and in your heart, to observe it.”


The Talmudic sage Rabbi Yanai said: “To what is this compared? To a loaf of bread which was hanging from the ceiling high up. A fool says, ‘Who can reach it to take it down?’ But a smart person says, ‘Didn’t someone hang it up there. How did he get up there? I too will try. Let me bring a ladder and slowly but surely, I will get it down.”


“So too, is with the Torah.” A fool says, ‘How can I possibly study the Torah, when there is so much to study?”’ As a result, he doesn’t study anything and remains ignorant. But a wise person says, “I will study a little today and a little tomorrow and so on. And little by little he will master the Torah.” Indeed, a little bit of Torah study each day, over time, goes a very long way.


On the lighter side:One Rosh Hashana, the rabbi of the synagogue noticed little Moshe’le staring at the large plaque hanging in the shul lobby. It was covered with names and small American flags were mounted on either side of it. The boy had been staring at the plaque for some time.


The rabbi walked over to him and said, “Shana Tova, Moshe’le.”


“Shana Tova to you too,” replied Moshe’le, still very intent on the plaque.


Then he turns to the rabbi and says, “Rabbi, what is this?”


“Well, it’s a memorial to all the young men and women who died in the service.”


Soberly, they stood together, staring at the large plaque. Then little Moshe’le turned to the rabbi and asked, “Rabbi, which service... Rosh Hashanah service or Yom Kippur service?”




Montreal candle lighting time: 6:18 / Shabbat ends: 7:18