On the last day of his life, Moshe
gathers all the people, young and old, lowly and exalted, men and women,
in a final initiation. The covenant includes not only those who
are present, but even those generations yet unborn. Moshe
admonishes the people again to be extremely vigilant against idol
worship because, in spite of having witnessed the abominations of Egypt,
there will always be the temptation to experiment with foreign
philosophies as a pretext for immorality.
Moshe describes the desolation of the Land of Israel which
will result from failure to heed G-d's mitzvot.
Descendants of that generation and foreigners alike will remark on the
singular desolation of the Land and its apparent inability to be sown or
to produce crops. The conclusion will be apparent to all, the
Jewish People have forsaken the One who protects them in favor of
powerless idols. Moshe promises, however, that the
people will eventually repent after both the blessings and the curses
have been fulfilled.
However assimilated they will have become among the nations, eventually
will bring them back to Eretz Yisrael.
Moshe tells the people to remember that fulfilling the
Torah is not an impossibility; rather it's within the grasp of every
Jew. The parsha dramatically concludes with Moshe comparing the
Jewish People's choice to follow the Torah to a choice between life and
death. Moshe exhorts the people to choose life.
On the last day of his life, Moshe goes
from tent to tent bidding farewell to his people, encouraging them to
"keep the faith." Moshe tells them that whether he is
among them or not, G-d is with them. He summons Yehoshua,
and in front of all the people, exhorts him to be strong and courageous
as leader of the Jewish People. Thus, he strengthens Yehoshua's
Moshe teaches the mitzvah of Hakhel: every
seven years on the first of the intermediate days of Succot,
the entire nation, including small children, is to gather at the Temple
to hear the King read from the Book of Devarim. The
sections read deal with faithfulness to G-d, the
covenant, and reward and punishment.
G-d tells Moshe that his end is near, and
he should summon Yehoshua to stand with him in the Mishkan,
where G-d will teach Yehoshua.
tells Moshe and Yehoshua that after entering
the Land, the people will be unfaithful and worship other gods.
will then completely "hide His face," so that it will seem
that the Jewish People are at the mercy of fate, hunted by all.
G-d instructs Moshe and Yehoshua
to write down a song "Ha'azinu" which will serve as
"witness" against the Jewish People when they sin. Moshe
records the song in writing and teaches it to Bnai Yisrael.
Moshe completes his transcription of the Torah and
instructs the Levi'im to place it to the side of the Holy
Ark, so that no one will ever write a new Torah Scroll different from
the original, for there will always be a reference copy.