Personal Notes on Vayelexh (Note. Hashem is a way of noting the sacred name of G-d without writing it out. This is done in reverence for the holiness of His name.)
Devarim/Deuteronomy 31:12-13 G-d calls for an assembly of ALL the people: men, women, little ones and “the foreigners you have in your towns”. They are to HEAR the Torah/teachings of G-d read to them. When? At the end of every seven years, during Sukkot in the year of the Sh’mittah. Why? So they could hear, learn, fear Hashem their G-d.
That word for fear ירא yaw-ray is a word that also means awe, reverence, respect. The idea, I believe, is to fear G-d in the sense of recognizing Who and What He is. He is our All-Powerful Creator. He could, in an instant, cause us to no longer exist or to suffer torment forever. He could be mean. Yet, He is not. He is the finest, greatest, truest love in existence. All good comes from Him. He spoke a whole universe into existence and then tempered the creative power of His words so that they could be contained in a book that we could see with our eyes, and hear read with our ears. When He spoke, the people could not handle it and asked that He only speak to Moshe.
If an all-powerful, universe-creating G-d who wants to dwell with us, and in us, mere humans does not inspire some fearful awe and reverence, I don’t know what does. He is magnificent — way more than the magnificence we see in the universe.
31:14-18 Hashem tells Moshe the time has come for him to die and Y’hoshua (Joshua) to take his place. How Hashem’s heart must have been grieving when He told Moshe and Y’hoshua that, after Moshe’s death, the people were going to prostitute themselves with false gods, abandon and break their covenant and do evil.
That covenant is in the form of a ketubah — a marriage covenant. Hashem is, in essence, both Father to the people and Husband. In our finite humanness, it is difficult to imagine such a dual role (as well as the other roles He has in our lives). I believe Hashem has these many roles because He knows the brokenness of humanity.
While some may be most touched by a loving, watchful Daddy, other might relate more to a faithful spouse. Still others, to a warrior King, ready to protect His people. Or that strong Tower into whic you can run. Whatever you need in your brokenness, He is it.
I wonder how Moshe felt. He had begged Hashem for mercy when Hashem was going to kill them all and start over again with Moshe. I do know if Hashem fully intended to do so or if He was just revealing Moshe’s heart — a heart jealous for Hashem’s reputation. Moshe was faithful, and now, to hear they were going to abandon the covenant anyway?
I would think that Moshe would have told them what happened. It is in the Torah! Did they not take seriously what he shared about their almost demise? Maybe, they did not believe him. Although, they did have the flood as testimony of Hashem’s judgment.
And then there is Y’hoshua. He has been through SO much with these people. He has remained faithful to Hashem and to Moshe. And now, to hear that he is going to lead the people into the land where they will adopt the local false gods and do much evil…how must his heart have felt? He was losing his mentor, being promoted to his mentor’s position, being put in charge of the huge task of moving these people in and other people out, only to have the people become unfaithful yet again.
Was his heart sinking? Maybe that is why Hashem told Y’hoshua directly not once, but 4 times to be bold and strong, plus 1 more time through the people. Plus 1 time not to be afraid or downhearted. 6 times the same basic message! Do you think he needed to hear it 6 times? How many times do WE need to hear it? Hashem said it 5 times and the people once. Are we encouraging our leaders? Are we pledging obedience and support to our leaders as they take us into the next move of the Ruach HaKodesh/Holy Spirit? Something to think about, huh?
19-22 Moshe is told to write a song for the people and have them learn it by heart. Literally, it is to be in their mouth. We know the more senses we use, the easier it is to learn something and singing it adds to that. Hashem tells Moshe they are to learn it because of what they will do. The song, which is in the next parshah, tells the story of what will happen. Moshe writes it that same day and teaches it to the people of Israel.
23 is the first time Hashem tells Y’hoshua to be brave and strong.
24-26 Moshe finishes writing the Torah and then instructs the L’vi’im (Levites) to put it next to the ark with the covenant to witness them. Many translations write it is to be a witness against them. But a more literal translation is that it is to be a witness. The word “against” is not in the Hebrew.
It seems to me that the word of Hashem is to witness what the people do. Later, when the people are judged, the word of the L-rd testifies against them…which is the same idea as “to be a witness against them”. I also think of it as the word (written) of Hashem is a parallel to the Word Living — Yeshua. The Torah points to and represents Yeshua — the eyewitness and coming Judge.
Yet, out of love for us, Yeshua plays more than one role. Yes, He is witness and Judge, but He is also our Advocate/Lawyer pleading out case and He is our substitute for the consequences of breaking the Law…consequences we rightly deserve. There is SO much more that could be looked at regarding Yeshua’s multiple roles, but that is for another time and for some who are way more learned than I.
Suffice it to say that our Creator is SO amazing, SO far above us. I am in awe of Him more and more as I learn more.
How about you? Does Hashem and His ways humble you as it humbles me? I sure hope so!