THIS WEEK
THIS WEEK

Vezot Habracha

This is the blessing — וזאת הברכה


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TORAH: Deuteronomy 33:1-34:12

Deuteronomy 33-34 (Listen)

Moses' Final Blessing on Israel

33:1 This is the blessing with which Moses the man of God blessed the people of Israel before his death. He said,

“The Lord came from Sinai
and dawned from Seir upon us; [1]
he shone forth from Mount Paran;
he came from the ten thousands of holy ones,
with flaming fire [2] at his right hand.
Yes, he loved his people, [3]
all his holy ones were in his [4] hand;
so they followed [5] in your steps,
receiving direction from you,
when Moses commanded us a law,
as a possession for the assembly of Jacob.
Thus the Lord became king in Jeshurun,
when the heads of the people were gathered,
all the tribes of Israel together.

“Let Reuben live, and not die,
but let his men be few.”

And this he said of Judah:

“Hear, O Lord, the voice of Judah,
and bring him in to his people.
With your hands contend [6] for him,
and be a help against his adversaries.”

And of Levi he said,

“Give to Levi [7] your Thummim,
and your Urim to your godly one,
whom you tested at Massah,
with whom you quarreled at the waters of Meribah;
who said of his father and mother,
‘I regard them not’;
he disowned his brothers
and ignored his children.
For they observed your word
and kept your covenant.
10 They shall teach Jacob your rules
and Israel your law;
they shall put incense before you
and whole burnt offerings on your altar.
11 Bless, O Lord, his substance,
and accept the work of his hands;
crush the loins of his adversaries,
of those who hate him, that they rise not again.”

12 Of Benjamin he said,

“The beloved of the Lord dwells in safety.
The High God [8] surrounds him all day long,
and dwells between his shoulders.”

13 And of Joseph he said,

“Blessed by the Lord be his land,
with the choicest gifts of heaven above, [9]
and of the deep that crouches beneath,
14 with the choicest fruits of the sun
and the rich yield of the months,
15 with the finest produce of the ancient mountains
and the abundance of the everlasting hills,
16 with the best gifts of the earth and its fullness
and the favor of him who dwells in the bush.
May these rest on the head of Joseph,
on the pate of him who is prince among his brothers.
17 A firstborn bull [10]—he has majesty,
and his horns are the horns of a wild ox;
with them he shall gore the peoples,
all of them, to the ends of the earth;
they are the ten thousands of Ephraim,
and they are the thousands of Manasseh.”

18 And of Zebulun he said,

“Rejoice, Zebulun, in your going out,
and Issachar, in your tents.
19 They shall call peoples to their mountain;
there they offer right sacrifices;
for they draw from the abundance of the seas
and the hidden treasures of the sand.”

20 And of Gad he said,

“Blessed be he who enlarges Gad!
Gad crouches like a lion;
he tears off arm and scalp.
21 He chose the best of the land for himself,
for there a commander's portion was reserved;
and he came with the heads of the people,
with Israel he executed the justice of the Lord,
and his judgments for Israel.”

22 And of Dan he said,

“Dan is a lion's cub
that leaps from Bashan.”

23 And of Naphtali he said,

“O Naphtali, sated with favor,
and full of the blessing of the Lord,
possess the lake [11] and the south.”

24 And of Asher he said,

“Most blessed of sons be Asher;
let him be the favorite of his brothers,
and let him dip his foot in oil.
25 Your bars shall be iron and bronze,
and as your days, so shall your strength be.

26 “There is none like God, O Jeshurun,
who rides through the heavens to your help,
through the skies in his majesty.
27 The eternal God is your dwelling place, [12]
and underneath are the everlasting arms. [13]
And he thrust out the enemy before you
and said, Destroy.
28 So Israel lived in safety,
Jacob lived alone, [14]
in a land of grain and wine,
whose heavens drop down dew.
29 Happy are you, O Israel! Who is like you,
a people saved by the Lord,
the shield of your help,
and the sword of your triumph!
Your enemies shall come fawning to you,
and you shall tread upon their backs.”

The Death of Moses

34:1 Then Moses went up from the plains of Moab to Mount Nebo, to the top of Pisgah, which is opposite Jericho. And the Lord showed him all the land, Gilead as far as Dan, all Naphtali, the land of Ephraim and Manasseh, all the land of Judah as far as the western sea, the Negeb, and the Plain, that is, the Valley of Jericho the city of palm trees, as far as Zoar. And the Lord said to him, “This is the land of which I swore to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, ‘I will give it to your offspring.’ I have let you see it with your eyes, but you shall not go over there.” So Moses the servant of the Lord died there in the land of Moab, according to the word of the Lord, and he buried him in the valley in the land of Moab opposite Beth-peor; but no one knows the place of his burial to this day. Moses was 120 years old when he died. His eye was undimmed, and his vigor unabated. And the people of Israel wept for Moses in the plains of Moab thirty days. Then the days of weeping and mourning for Moses were ended.

And Joshua the son of Nun was full of the spirit of wisdom, for Moses had laid his hands on him. So the people of Israel obeyed him and did as the Lord had commanded Moses. 10 And there has not arisen a prophet since in Israel like Moses, whom the Lord knew face to face, 11 none like him for all the signs and the wonders that the Lord sent him to do in the land of Egypt, to Pharaoh and to all his servants and to all his land, 12 and for all the mighty power and all the great deeds of terror that Moses did in the sight of all Israel. (ESV)

Footnotes

[1] 33:2 Septuagint, Syriac, Vulgate; Hebrew them
[2] 33:2 The meaning of the Hebrew word is uncertain
[3] 33:3 Septuagint; Hebrew peoples
[4] 33:3 Hebrew your
[5] 33:3 The meaning of the Hebrew word is uncertain
[6] 33:7 Probable reading; Hebrew With his hands he contended
[7] 33:8 Dead Sea Scroll, Septuagint; Masoretic Text lacks Give to Levi
[8] 33:12 Septuagint; Hebrew dwells in safety by him. He
[9] 33:13 Two Hebrew manuscripts and Targum; Hebrew with the dew
[10] 33:17 Dead Sea Scroll, Septuagint, Samaritan; Masoretic Text His firstborn bull
[11] 33:23 Or west
[12] 33:27 Or a dwelling place
[13] 33:27 Revocalization of verse 27 yields He subdues the ancient gods, and shatters the forces of old
[14] 33:28 Hebrew the abode of Jacob was alone

HAFTARAH: Joshua 1:1-18

Joshua 1 (Listen)

God Commissions Joshua

1:1 After the death of Moses the servant of the Lord, the Lord said to Joshua the son of Nun, Moses' assistant, “Moses my servant is dead. Now therefore arise, go over this Jordan, you and all this people, into the land that I am giving to them, to the people of Israel. Every place that the sole of your foot will tread upon I have given to you, just as I promised to Moses. From the wilderness and this Lebanon as far as the great river, the river Euphrates, all the land of the Hittites to the Great Sea toward the going down of the sun shall be your territory. No man shall be able to stand before you all the days of your life. Just as I was with Moses, so I will be with you. I will not leave you or forsake you. Be strong and courageous, for you shall cause this people to inherit the land that I swore to their fathers to give them. Only be strong and very courageous, being careful to do according to all the law that Moses my servant commanded you. Do not turn from it to the right hand or to the left, that you may have good success [1] wherever you go. This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success. Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”

Joshua Assumes Command

10 And Joshua commanded the officers of the people, 11 “Pass through the midst of the camp and command the people, ‘Prepare your provisions, for within three days you are to pass over this Jordan to go in to take possession of the land that the Lord your God is giving you to possess.’”

12 And to the Reubenites, the Gadites, and the half-tribe of Manasseh Joshua said, 13 “Remember the word that Moses the servant of the Lord commanded you, saying, ‘The Lord your God is providing you a place of rest and will give you this land.’ 14 Your wives, your little ones, and your livestock shall remain in the land that Moses gave you beyond the Jordan, but all the men of valor among you shall pass over armed before your brothers and shall help them, 15 until the Lord gives rest to your brothers as he has to you, and they also take possession of the land that the Lord your God is giving them. Then you shall return to the land of your possession and shall possess it, the land that Moses the servant of the Lord gave you beyond the Jordan toward the sunrise.”

16 And they answered Joshua, “All that you have commanded us we will do, and wherever you send us we will go. 17 Just as we obeyed Moses in all things, so we will obey you. Only may the Lord your God be with you, as he was with Moses! 18 Whoever rebels against your commandment and disobeys your words, whatever you command him, shall be put to death. Only be strong and courageous.” (ESV)

Footnotes

[1] 1:7 Or may act wisely

GOSPEL: Luke 22:44-53

Luke 22:44-53 (Listen)

44 And being in an agony he prayed more earnestly; and his sweat became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground. [1] 45 And when he rose from prayer, he came to the disciples and found them sleeping for sorrow, 46 and he said to them, “Why are you sleeping? Rise and pray that you may not enter into temptation.”

Betrayal and Arrest of Jesus

47 While he was still speaking, there came a crowd, and the man called Judas, one of the twelve, was leading them. He drew near to Jesus to kiss him, 48 but Jesus said to him, “Judas, would you betray the Son of Man with a kiss?” 49 And when those who were around him saw what would follow, they said, “Lord, shall we strike with the sword?” 50 And one of them struck the servant [2] of the high priest and cut off his right ear. 51 But Jesus said, “No more of this!” And he touched his ear and healed him. 52 Then Jesus said to the chief priests and officers of the temple and elders, who had come out against him, “Have you come out as against a robber, with swords and clubs? 53 When I was with you day after day in the temple, you did not lay hands on me. But this is your hour, and the power of darkness.” (ESV)

Footnotes

[1] 22:44 Some manuscripts omit verses 43 and 44
[2] 22:50 Greek bondservant


Regular Shabbat Readings

Note: On Jewish holidays, special readings often interrupt the regular cycle.


Portion Summary

The fifty-fourth and last reading from the Torah begins with the words Vezot ha'Berachah (וזאת הברכה), which means "And this is the blessing." These are the first words of Deuteronomy 33:1. This Torah portion is ordinarily read on the day of Simchat Torah (Rejoicing of the Torah) in conjunction with the beginning of the book of Genesis to mark the conclusion of one year's Torah cycle and the beginning of the next. The portion contains Moses' final blessings over the twelve tribes, the story of his ascent up Mount Nebo to overlook the land of Canaan and the story of his death and burial.


Portion Outline

  • Torah
    • Deuteronomy 33:1 | Moses' Final Blessing on Israel
    • Deuteronomy 34:1 | Moses Dies and Is Buried in the Land of Moab
  • Prophets
    • Joshua 1:1 | God's Commission to Joshua
    • Joshua 1:10 | Preparations for the Invasion


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