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The Schmooze

In Song: Va’etchanan

‘You shall make them known to your children, and your children’s children.’ Iillustration from a Bible card published 1901 by the Providence Lithograph Company.

Each week The Arty Semite connects the Torah reading — however tenuously — with a classic work of rock and roll.

In this week’s parsha, Va’etchanan, Moses continues his historical review with a recap of how he unsuccessfully asked God to rescind the decree barring him from entering Canaan. He then explains why it is important for the Israelites to keep the Torah and why it is he, rather than God, who is now teaching it to them.

A brief interlude in Moses’ narrative details the cities of refuge and introduces Moses’ main speech, which begins with major principles of the Torah and Jewish faith, including the opening paragraph of the Shema prayer and a repetition of the 10 Commandments.

Moses tells us to listen to his words, to learn them, to internalize his teachings and to instruct our children. We will read on in the coming weeks about many more mitzvot.

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