Devarim (Deuteronomy) In this final book of Torah, Moses reviews much of the history and the laws given to the Jewish people: hence the Greek name, (taken from phrase 'Mishneh Torah', Deut. 17:18) meaning second telling. In Deuteronomy, the belief that following God's rules will bring blessing; while spurning God will result in calamity is stressed. Idolatry and other false practices are continually denounced. Many scholars identify Deuteronomy with the book of Teaching found by Hilkiah the High Priest (during the reign of King Josiah- II Kings 22:8) during the reforms the king was instituting to strengthen Israel and its religion. There are thirty-four chapters, divided into eleven parashiyot. The parashiyot of Devarim are: Devarim, Va'Etchanan, Ekev, Re'eh, Shoftim, Ki Tetze, Ki Tavo, Nitzavim, VaYelech, Ha'azinu, and Zot HaBrachah


Ha'azinu: I can think of no better way to start the process of Teshuvah, than by beginning to be grateful.

Parashat Ha-Azinu is the last parasha in the annual cycle of Torah readings that has a Shabbat to itself. The final parasha, Zot Ha-Bracha, is only read on Simchat Torah. Ha-Azinu contains Moses' final words to the Israelites - delivered as a powerful poem or song recalling the people's sacred history since the Exodus from Egypt, and warning the Israelites in the strongest terms not to stray from the path that God has commanded. This is one of only two songs in the Torah attributed to Moses, the other being the Song at the Sea in Parashat Be-Shalach. At the end of the parasha, God tells Moses to ascend to the top of Mount Nebo, where he will die. But while God allows Moses to see throughout the Land of Israel from the top of the mountain, it is reiterated that Moses will not be able to enter the Land since he 'broke faith with Me.'

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These summaries and introductions are used with permission of Kolel: The Adult Centre for Liberal Jewish Learning in Toronto, Canada. Kolel is a dynamic, pluralistic, egalitarian institution where men and women engage in Jewish learning which values both traditional and liberal interpretations. Kolel is a gateway into a richer expression of Judaism for each individual, wherever their journey of Jewish discovery may take them.