Parshat Va’etchanan

Va’etchanan contains some of the most sublime theological passages in the whole of Judaism. Moses tells the people that their laws and history are unique, and will be seen as such by other nations. Their laws were given by God; their history was written by God – there is no other nation of which either can be said.

Moses then begins his second great speech. He reminds the people of the Ten Commandments and the revelation at Mount Sinai and commands them to set God at the centre of their lives in the passage that became the first paragraph of the Shema, the supreme expression of the love of God. This was to be more than an emotion. It was to be constantly spoken of to children, worn by men in the form of tefillin, and placed as mezuzot “on the doorposts of your house” (Deut. 6:9).

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