Dvar Torah delivered by Malka Pinsley on Shabbat, 13th Tishrei 5776, 26th September 2015
The people of Israel reached the end of their journey. They reached the promised land; they received the word of God through Moses so that they knew to worship God and not to worship the idols they had seen among the neighboring peoples, which was the worst anathema that the Lord could imagine happening. And this parasha is one of the last of Moses’ life. This is the time that the people of Israel are to enter into their covenant with God, that they will be His people and He will be their God. It is emphasized that the covenant will be not only with those who were present but also with those who were not present, that is, with those of us who will live in future generations. We are part of that congregation of people who made the covenant.
It was noted that during the journey from Egypt to the Promised Land, some of us had seen the gods of other peoples— the idols and fetishes of wood and stone, silver and metal, which other peoples worshipped, and perhaps some of us would want to do the same, but if that should take place the Lord would single out such people for misfortune. And the Lord will not forgive him. He will blot out their names under heaven.
But if you shall return to being faithful to God, then He will have compassion on you and return you to your people and your land from your dispersion, He will open your heart. He will put the curses on your enemies and will rejoice about you.
This commandment that I command you this day is not too difficult; neither is it far away. You need not ask, “Who will bring it to us?” It is not in heaven or beyond the sea. It is near you, in your mouth and your heart and easily done. See, I have set before you a choice of life and good, or death and evil. If you choose to love the Lord your God, to walk in His ways, and to keep His commandments, then shall you live and multiply, and you shall be blessed in the land you are to possess. But if you turn away from God you shall surely perish. You have a choice, so choose life so that you can dwell in the land I promised to your fathers, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.