There is an elegiac quality to this week’s reading of Va’etḥanan (Deuteronomy 3:23 – 7:11). It begins, as David Wolpe noted here last week, with Moses having to accept that he won’t be receiving what he was promised, and won’t be crossing over with his people into the land. And then it gets worse. Moses is deeply worried that without him, when the Israelites are left to their own devices, all will be lost.
The Sh'ma Is the Jewish Safety Net
The brave attempt at monotheism was bound to go wrong sometimes, and when it did, the Israelites would need help putting the pieces back together again.