December 3, 2023
Parashat Vayelech

When you Choose Shabbat, you choose to learn that every Shabbat is different and special. This week I learned that the Shabbat between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur is known as Shabbat Shuvah, or Shabbat of Return, because its special Haftarah reading that begins with the words Shuvah Yisrael “Return O Israel,” from the prophecy of Hoshea. I also learned that this week’s Torah reading is Parashat Vayelech from the Book of Deuteronomy, which tells the story of Moses and his responsibilities during his final days on earth.

Rabbi Michael D Klein of Temple Torat Emet offers his insights on this week’s Torah reading, Vayelech:

So here we are, celebrating the 1st Shabbat of a New Year 5783. Moses, in Sedra Vayelech, is giving his final instructions before ascending Mt. Nebo and viewing the Promised Land. He begins by making sure that the Jewish people accept and understand that after his passing, G-d will not abandon them. Instead, G-d will provide a steady and chosen leader, Joshua, who will have the courage and wisdom to lead the people through the next challenges of conquering and settling the Land of Israel. Secondly, Moses establishes a clear path of succession in the acceptance and application of the Torah Laws which will govern their lives forever. Finally, Moses exhorts the people to follow and assist their leaders, Kohanim, scholars, elders, in following the Commandments and observing all the laws wholeheartedly and without reservation. Moses is then ready to ascend the mountain, knowing that he has done all that G-d has required of him these past 40+ years.

This too, should be our attitude about living. The Rabbis, in Mishne Avot, teach us to view every day as if it were our final one. Knowing this teaches us to give value to every moment and to make all that we say and do count. As we say when we bless a happily married couple that has been together for many years, it is not the number of days they have had together, but how they made each day count. May we, in the Zechut of Moshe Rabbeinu learn this as our most important lesson. May we be inscribed and sealed for a wonderful 5783.

Rabbi Michael D. Klein

Rabbi Michael D. Klein attended Yeshiva College of South Florida and served as Torah Reader, Hebrew teacher, Chazzan and spiritual leader of various synagogues throughout South Florida. In January 2015 he became Ritual Director, Bnai/Bnot Mitzvah instructor and 7th grade Hebrew instructor for Temple Torat Emet of Boynton Beach. In October 2019 he was accepted into an accelerated track at Yeshiva/Mesifta Adas Wolkowisk, completed his Rabbinical studies in July 2020 and has been the Rabbinic leadership of Temple Torat Emet since August 2020. In September of 2022 he was appointed Rabbinic and Spiritual Advisor of the Florida Region of FJMC.

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