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Reading the Bible Very Slowly:Nitzavim, נִצָּבִים (You are standing) D.29:9-30:20 / Vayelech, וַיֵּלֶךְ (And he went) 31:1-31:30

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Nitzavim, Nitsavim, Nitzabim, Netzavim, or Nesabim (נִצָּבִים — Hebrew for “ones standing,” the second word, and the first distinctive word, in the parashah) is the 51st weekly Torah portion (פָּרָשָׁה, parashah) in the annual Jewish cycle of Torah reading and the eighth in the book of Deuteronomy. It constitutes Deuteronomy 29:9–30:20. The parashah has the fewest verses (although not the fewest letters or words) of any of the 54 weekly Torah portions, and is made up of 2,123 Hebrew letters, 553 Hebrew words, and 30 verses, and can occupy about 72 lines in a Torah Scroll (סֵפֶר תּוֹרָה, Sefer Torah). (Parashah V'Zot HaBerachah has fewer letters and words.)[1]

Jews generally read it in September or early October, on the Sabbath immediately before Rosh Hashanah. The lunisolar Hebrew calendar contains up to 55 weeks, the exact number varying between 50 in common years and 54 or 55 in leap years. In some leap years (for example, 2015, 2016, 2018, and 2019), Parashah Nitzavim is read separately. In common years (for example, 2013, 2014, and 2017), Parashah Nitzavim is combined with the next parashah, Vayelech, to help achieve the number of weekly readings needed. The two Torah portions are combined except when two Sabbaths fall between Rosh Hashanah and Sukkot and neither Sabbath coincides with a Holy Day.[2] In the standard Reform prayerbook for the High Holy Days (מחזור, machzor), parts of the parashah, Deuteronomy 29:9–14 and 30:11–20, are the Torah readings for the morning Yom Kippur service, in lieu of the traditional reading of Leviticus 16.[3]

In the parashah, Moses told the Israelites that all the people stood before God to enter into the covenant, violation of which would bring on every curse, but if they returned to God and heeded God’s commandments, then God would take them back in love and bring them together again from the ends of the world. Moses taught that this Instruction was not beyond reach, and Moses put before the Israelites life and death, blessing and curse, and exhorted them to choose life by loving God and heeding the commandments.

Vayelech, Vayeilech, VaYelech, Va-yelech, Vayelekh, Va-yelekh, or Vayeleh (וַיֵּלֶךְ — Hebrew for "then he went out", the first word in the parshah) is the 52nd weekly Torah portion (parshah) in the annual Jewish cycle of Torah reading and the ninth in the book of Deuteronomy. It constitutes Deuteronomy 31:1–30. Jews generally read it in September or early October. With just 30 verses, it is the shortest parshah.

The lunisolar Hebrew calendar contains up to 55 weeks, the exact number varying between 50 in common years and 54 or 55 in leap years. In some leap years (for example, 2012, 2015, 2016, 2018, and 2019), parshah Vayelech is read separately. In common years (for example, 2013, 2014, and 2017), parshah Vayelech is combined with the previous parshah, Nitzavim, to help achieve the number of weekly readings needed, and the combined portion is then read on the Sabbath immediately before Rosh Hashanah. The two Torah portions are combined except when two Sabbaths fall between Rosh Hashanah and Sukkot and neither Sabbath coincides with a Holy Day.[1]

In the parshah, Moses tells the Israelites to be strong and courageous, as God and Joshua would soon lead them into the Promised Land. Moses commanded the Israelites to read the law to all the people every seven years. God told Moses that his death was approaching, that the people would break the covenant, and that God would thus hide God’s face from them, so Moses should therefore write a song to serve as a witness for God against the Israelites.

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Monday, August 26, 2013 - 17:00
ARBOR CAFE -- 4210 Telegraph Avenue, Oakland more
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