Double parsha this week: Nitzavim and Vayelech.
Nitzavim, translated as “ones standing”, covers Deuteronomy 29:9-30:20 and explains how Moses led the Israelites into a covenant, choosing the option of blessings over curses. There are no commandments in this parshat.
Vaylech, translated as “then he went out”, continues with Deuteronomy 31:1-30. Moses, informed his time is winding down (after 120 years), is instructed to tell the Israelites to expect to be led to the Promised Land by Joshua. G-d warned Moses that the covenant would be broken, his face would be hidden, prompting Moses to stress the imperative that all the laws be read to all the people every seven years.
Since music is catchy and a good study guide, Moses was instructed to write (and teach) a song to serve as a witness on G-d’s side against the Israelites. Moses spent his last days writing 13 scrolls of laws, one for each of the 12 tribes plus an extra copy to keep on the Ark. There are two positive commandments in this parsha: to hear the words of the Torah after the Shmita year (the upcoming year 5775 ) and for every Jew to write (or commission) a Torah scroll.
Candle lighting time on South Whidbey is 6:54 with havdalah at 8:00.
Rabbi Ted Falcon: http://www.rabbitedfalcon.com/weekly-focus/
REMINDER: Rosh Hashana 5775 begins at sundown this Wednesday, the 24th!