If we were following the sequence of parashot, one after the other, this would be the week of the very last one of Devarim and of the Torah. V’Zot HaBerachah (And this is the blessing) is lovely way to begin that end. After all the trials and tribulations the people have gone though – those they passed, one or two they excelled in, but many they failed in – how good it is to receive a blessing, one for each tribe and one for all Israel. And as one man, the noblest of them all, climbs Mount Nebo to view the land he will never walk on, to die and be buried so wisely and so tenderly by the hand of God, a story ends. It is a story in one way complete in itself, in another the opening chapter to a bigger story that goes in one direction forwards to a land, a history and a destiny. In yet another way, it prepares to replay, yet never quite the same.
How fitting that Sukkot seems to interrupt the end of the Books of Moses. We are preparing to cross a river, to end our journey, to settle and build a home and a nation. We have been warned of how the prosperity that may follow will make us forget our mission and our identity. Just before we cross that river then, we are reminded of the forty years of wandering, the insecurity, the closeness of nature. Therefore, we go back and read again of God’s protection of Israel throughout these years and of the laws of Sukkot. The Sukkah is both fragile and beautiful, decorated with green and with fruits. Wandering is not all bad.
So why don’t you wander along to the service this Saturday at !0:30. Adam Feldman will be leading the prayers, songs, readings and conversations.