Vayelech – He went – וילך
In this week’s Torah portion we are looking at Deuteronomy 31:1–30
Vayelech (“and he went”) recounts the events of Moses’ last day of earthly life. “I am one hundred and twenty years old today,” he says to the people, “and I can no longer go forth and come in.” He transfers the leadership to Joshua, and writes (or concludes writing) the Torah in a scroll which he entrusts to the Levites for safekeeping in the Ark of the Covenant.
The mitzvah of hak’hel (“gather”) is given: every seven years, during the festival of Sukkot of the first year of the shemittah cycle, the entire people of Israel—men, women and children—should gather at the Holy Temple in Jerusalem, where the king should read to them from the Torah.
Vayelech concludes with the prediction that the people of Israel will turn away from their covenant with G‑d, causing Him to hide His face from them, but also with the promise that the words of the Torah “shall not be forgotten out of the mouths of their descendants.”
Song for Vayelech
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“The Torah Scroll” 2015 by Yoram Raanan
Acrylic on Canvas
“And it was, when Moses finished writing the words of this Torah in a scroll, until their very completion, that Moses commanded the Levites, who carried the ark of the covenant of the L-rd, saying: “Take this Torah scroll and place it alongside the ark of covenant of the L-rd, your G‑d, and it will be there as a witness…” (Deuteronomy 31:24-26)