Weekly Torah Portion


Parashat Vaetchanan - פרשת ואתחנן

By Rabbi Stephen Texon 


Dear Friends,

This beautiful Shabbat is a long awaited for Shabbat of COMFORT, named Shabbat "Nachamu", the Sabbath of comfort and consolation. In the Torah narrative we have come through the trials and tribulations of our wanderings in the desert, and now we have crossed over the river Jordan into the promised land. We in just the past few weeks have followed closely and lived through the renewed turmoil and violence in Israel, and on it's heels observed the "dark fast" of Tisha B'Av. We "deserve a break today" and we surely have it THIS Shabbat in full measure. Let's revel in it as we are also aware that this Shabbat is also the 15th of Av known through the centuries as Jewish Valentine's Day! It is a day of promoting wherein  single men and women are looking for loving relationships which may lead to marriage. It is the antithesis of Tisha B'Av designated as a day of feasting and celebration of life and love. LOVE is at the core of this Shabbat as we read the Sh'ma Yisrael which instructs us to "love the Lord thy G-d" with full heart,soul and might, and we also read the repetition of  G-d's greatest gift to the Jewish people and to  mankind, The Ten Commandments. What a power packed  Shabbat of love, comfort, consolation and G-d's reassurance of His eternal support, salvation and ultimate redemption in every generation. 


Let us glory in this Shabbat which is the first of the 7 Shabbatot of consolation leading up to Rosh Hashana. May we maintain this state of  inner  comfort combined with strong faith in the guardian of Israel who never sleeps as we approach the upcoming High Holiday Days of Awe in deep gratitude for His protecting love each and every day.

Shabbat Shalom!