This article is an excerpt from our book
Verses: 122 [Siman:לעבדיו]
Haftorah: Isaiah 60:1-22
|Number of Mitzvot:
There are a total of Six Mitzvot in Parashat Ki Tavo; Three positive commands and Three negative commands. The following are the commands in the order listed by the Sefer Hachinuch.
1. Mitzvah 606/Positive 245: To read certain verses when bringing the Bikurim
2. Mitzvah 607/Positive 246: To confess before G-d that the tithes were removed from one’s food products.
3. Mitzvah 611/Positive 247: To emulate G-d in all our actions.
1. Mitzvah 608/Negative 363: Not to eat the second tithe [i.e. Maaser Sheiyni] in a state of Aninus mourning.
2. Mitzvah 609/Negative 364: Not to eat the second tithe [i.e. Maaser Sheiyni] in a state of impurity.
3. Mitzvah 610/Negative 365: Not to spend the money of the second tithe [i.e. Maaser Sheiyni] for non-food purposes.
- First fruits [i.e. Bikurim]:
- When you enter Israel and settle in the land, you shall take all the first fruits of the land in a basket to the area that G-d chose to dwell [i.e. Jerusalem] and bring it to the Kohen. The Kohen is to take the basket and place it before the altar of G-d.
- The declaration of the pilgrim: He is to declare before the Kohen “An Aramean would have destroyed my father and we descended to Egypt few in number and then became a great nation. The Egyptians enslaved our ancestors and afflicted us with hard labor. We screamed to G-d our G-d and G-d saw our suffering and heard our screams. He took us out of Egypt with a mighty hand, with miracles and wonders and brought us to this land, a land of milk and honey. Now, I have brought the first fruits of the land which G-d has given me.” You shall place it before G-d and bow to Him. You shall rejoice with all the good that G-d has granted you, you and the Levite and convert amongst you.
- Mitzvat Viduiy Maaser-Confessing the Maaser tithing:
- When you complete the tithing of all your produce in the third year of Maaser, you are to distribute [the tithes] to the convert, the orphan and widow, and they are to eat and be satiated. You shall confess before G-d and say “I have removed the Maasros from the home and distributed it to the Levi, convert, orphan and widow, just as you commanded me. I have not transgressed your command and have not forgotten. I have not eaten it in a state of Aninus mourning or impurity. I have listened to the word of G-d and did all that He commanded. Gaze down from your Holy abode, from heaven, and bless Israel and the promised land that you have given us.”
- Moses encourages the children of Israel to follow the Mitzvot:
- On this day, G-d has commanded you to perform all of his commands, and you are to guard it with all your heart and soul. You have chosen G-d today as a G-d for you and G-d has distinguished you from amongst all the other nations, to follow his Mitzvot and to make you highest above all the other nations, a Holy people.
- Instructions to write the Torah on stones and build an altar of stone:
- Moses and the elders of the Jewish people commanded the nation to guard the Mitzvot. On the day that you pass the Jordan to the promised land, you are to set up large stones [by the Jordan] and cover them with plaster and write the entire Torah on them. [A second set of] stones are to be erected by Mount Ebal. You are to build there an altar for G-d. The altar is to be built of whole stones and is to be used for sacrifices. Iron is not to be used to hew the stones. You are to offer sacrifices there and rejoice there before G-d your G-d. You are to write on the stones the entire Torah, well clarified.
- The blessings and curses on Mount Gerizim and Mount Ebal:
- The tribes on Mount Gerizim for blessing: Moses commanded the Jewish people that day saying: After passing the Jordon, on the side of blessing on Mount Gerizim will stand Simeon, Levi, Judah, Issachar, Joseph and Benjamin.
- The tribes on Mount Ebal for curses: On the side of curse on Mount Ebal will stand Reuben, Gad, Asher, Zebulun, Dan, Naftali.
- The Levites are to stand and proclaim to the Jewish people in a loud voice, the following:
- The curses:
- Cursed is the man who makes idols. The entire nation is to answer Amen.
- Cursed is the man who degrades his parents. The entire nation is to answer Amen.
- Cursed is the man who moves back the boundary of his friend’s property. The entire nation is to answer Amen.
- Cursed is the man who fools the blind. The entire nation is to answer Amen.
- Cursed is the man who perverts the judgement of an orphan or widow in a court case. The entire nation is to answer Amen.
- Cursed is the man who sleeps with his father’s wife. The entire nation is to answer Amen.
- Cursed is the man who sleeps with an animal. The entire nation is to answer Amen.
- Cursed is the man who sleeps with his sister. The entire nation is to answer Amen.
- Cursed is the man who sleeps with his mother in-law. The entire nation is to answer Amen.
- Cursed is the man who discreetly hits his friend. The entire nation is to answer Amen.
- Cursed is the man who takes money to kill the innocent. The entire nation is to answer Amen.
- Cursed is the man who does not fulfil the Torah. The entire nation is to answer Amen.
- The blessings
- If you listen and follow all of G-d’s commands He will elevate you from amongst all the nations of the world and you will receive all the following blessings:
- You will be blessed in the city and field.
- Your children and animals and land will be blessed.
- Your fruits and dry goods will be blessed.
- You will be blessed when you enter and when you leave.
- Your enemies will flee from you. They will approach you on one road and flee in seven directions.
- G-d will bless the storehouses and all your actions.
- All the nations will see that the name of G-d hovers over you and they will fear you.
- The heavens will give rain at their proper time.
- You will lend the nations and will not need to borrow from them.
- G-d will place you at the head and not the tail, and you will be only on top and not on bottom.
- The curses:
- If you do not listen to G-d and his Torah, all the following curses will befall you:
- You will be cursed in the city and field.
- Your fruits and dry goods will be cursed.
- Your children and animals and land will be cursed.
- You will be cursed when you enter and when you leave.
- You will be stricken with curse in everything you do until you are destroyed.
- You will be stricken with disease until you are destroyed.
- You will be stricken with fever and illness until you are destroyed.
- The heavens will be like copper and the earth like iron.
- The heavens will rain dust and ash until you are destroyed.
- You will flee from your enemies in seven different directions.
- Your corpses will be food for the birds and animals.
- You will be stricken with Egyptian boils and hemorrhoids that cannot be healed.
- You will be stricken with insanity.
- You will be like a blind man who can’t see and nothing you do will be successful.
- You will be robbed and swindled without anyone to help you.
- You will marry, and another man will take your wife.
- You will build a house and vineyard and another man will live there.
- Your cattle will be taken by the enemy.
- Your children will be taken captives by other nations.
- Other nations will capture all your work and use it.
- You will go insane from witnessing all this.
- You will be struck with boils throughout your entire body.
- You will be taken captives by other nations and serve idolatry there.
- You will be a mockery amongst all the nations.
- Locusts will eat your produce.
- Worms will eat your vineyard.
- Your olives will fail to produce oil.
- Your children will not be yours as they will be taken captive.
- Your trees and produce will be inherited by locusts.
- The nations will be elevated, and you will be demoted.
- You will borrow from them and they will not borrow from you.
- You will be a tail and they will be a head.
- You will receive all these curses until you are destroyed.
- This is all coming upon you due to the fact that you did not serve G-d with joy of all the abundance that you have.
- You will work hard for your enemy.
- G-d will bring upon you a foreign nation who has no mercy.
- They will take all your crops and belongings.
- Your fortresses will be taken down.
- You will eat the flesh of your children.
- The pampered amongst you will have to do the most gross of acts.
- You will be stricken with other illnesses and tragedies not written in this book.
- You will remain very few instead of the many that you once were, being you did not listen to G-d. Just as G-d rejoiced by doing good to you, so too He will rejoice to destroy you.
- You will be scattered across the earth and serve other gods. You will not be tranquil there. In the morning you will say, “If only it was the night before” and in the evening you will say “If only it was the morning.”
- You will be returned to Egypt on ships and sold as slaves, but no one will buy you.
- These are the words of the covenant that G-d commanded Moses to make with the Jewish people, aside for the covenant that was made in Horeb.
- Moses recounts the miracles witnessed by the children of Israel:
- Moses called to the Jewish people and said to them “You have seen all that G-d has done to Egypt, and to Pharaoh, his servants and all his land. You saw all the great miracles and wonders. You have not been given by G-d a heart to know and an eye to see and an ear to hear until this day. You have traveled the desert for 40 years and saw that your clothing and shoes did not get worn out. You did not eat bread, and wine and beer you did not drink, [and rather you lived off the Mun].
- Sihon the king of Cheshbon, and Og the king of Bashan, came against us in war and we smote them. We took their land and gave it as an inheritance to Reuben, Gad, and half of Manasseh. You are to guard this covenant in order so you will succeed in all that you do.
Verses: 40 [Siman:לבבו]
Haftorah: Isaiah 61:10-63:9
|Number of Mitzvot:
There are no Mitzvot in Parashat Nitzavim.
|The Portion Theme:
Moses enters the Jewish people into a covenant with G-d and warns them of the dangers of getting involved in sinful behavior.
- The covenant:
- All the Jewish people are present: [Moses gathered the Jewish people before G-d on the day of his passing and told them] You are all standing before G-d today to pass into a covenant of G-d and His oath. All the Jewish people are here including your heads, tribes, elders, officers, children, wives, converts, wood choppers and water carriers, in order to enter the covenant that G-d will make with you today.
- Purpose of the covenant: The purpose of the covenant is for you to become G-d’s nation and G-d become your G-d as he promised your forefathers, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.
- Applicable forever: The covenant and oath are binding and applicable not just to those present, but for all future generations, even those not here today.
- Moses warns the children of Israel against breaking the covenant:
- [Moses said to the nation:] “You know what it was like to live amongst the Egyptians, and you passed through other nations [and saw their ways of living]. You saw their abominations, and detestable idols of wood, stone, silver and gold.”
- A warning for the careless sinner: “Perhaps you have amongst you today a man or woman, family or tribe, whose heart swerves from G-d and desires to go serve the idols of the gentiles. Perhaps you have a miscreant growing amongst you who even after hearing these words will say to himself that he can do whatever his heart desires and peace will remain upon him. So, I tell him today, no, I will add to your punishment. G-d will not forgive him, and His wrath and vengeance will smoke against the man, and all of the oaths written in this book will befall him. G-d will obliterate his name from under the heavens. He will be set aside from all of Israel for evil and will receive all the curses written in this book.”
- The curses for not obeying the covenant: Your children and the nations who visit the land will see that the land is plagued and affected with illnesses by G-d. The earth will be scorched with sulfur and salt and will not be able to be sowed or grow produce, just as occurred with Sodom and Gomorrah, Adma and Tzevoim which G-d overturned in His anger. All the nations will ask why G-d destroyed the earth with such anger and they will be told it is because the Jewish people left the covenant G-d made with their ancestors when He took them out of Egypt. They went and served foreign gods, and therefore He went and brought upon them the curses written in this Sefer. G-d will throw them off their land in anger and fury and displace them into foreign territory.
- The hidden is to G-d while the revealed is to man and his descendants forever, to perform this Torah.
Fourth Aliyah (Third Aliyah when combined with Vayeilech)
- G-d comforts the children of Israel that He will return them from exile:
- The children of Israel will do Teshuvah: “After experiencing all the blessings and curses you will take to heart all that has happened and return to G-d and follow His will with all your heart and soul.”
- Gathering of exiles: “G-d will then have mercy on you and return you from the exiles, gathering you from all the nations to which you were dispersed. Even if you were dispersed to the end of the heavens, He will gather you and take you from there. He will bring you back to Israel, to the land your ancestors inherited, and you shall inherit it.”
- The blessings upon the return from exile: “G-d will benefit you and make you multiply more than your forefathers. G-d will circumcise your hearts and the hearts of your descendants, so you can love Him with all your heart and soul.”
Fifth Aliyah (Third Aliyah when combined with Vayeilech)
- The curses that will befall our enemies: G-d will place all the curses of this book onto your enemies who pursued you.
- More blessings: “You will repent and listen to the voice of G-d and perform all of his commands. G-d will make you successful in all your activities, in having children and cattle, and produce. G-d will return to rejoice in you for good, just as He rejoiced with your forefathers.”
- G-d encourages the children of Israel to keep the Mitzvot:
- “The Torah and Mitzvot are not distanced from you. It is not in the Heavens or across the sea that you need to ask someone to reach there to bring it to you. The Torah is very close to you, to your lips and to your heart to perform it.”
Seventh Aliyah (Fourth Aliyah when combined with Vayeilech)
- Freedom of choice to choose life or death: “G-d has given you today [the choice between] good and life and evil and death. If you choose to love Him and follow His will and guard His Mitzvot then you will live and receive His blessings. But, if you lead your heart astray and disobey His commands and serve idolatry, you shall know now that you will be eradicated. You will not last long on the land of inheritance. I call the heaven and earth to witness today that I have given you the path of life and death, blessing and curse, and I instruct you to choose life, so you and your descendants shall live.”
Verses: 30 [Siman:אדניה]
Haftorah: Isaiah 61:10-63:9
Shabbat Shuva Haftorah: Hosea 14:2-10; Micah 7:18-20
|Number of Mitzvot:
There are a total of Two Mitzvot in Parashat Vayeilech; Two positive commands and Zero negative commands. The following are the commands in the order listed by the Sefer Hachinuch.
1. Mitzvah 612/Positive 247: The mitzvah of Hakhel
2. Mitzvah 613/Positive 248: To write a Sefer Torah.
- Moses’s last day, instructions not to fear conquering Canaan:
- Moses informs that he must step down from leadership: Moses went and spoke the following words to all of the children of Israel: “I am 120 years old today, and I am no longer able to enter and exit [to the Jewish people], and G-d has informed me that I will be unable to cross the Jordan river.
- Conquering the nations of Canaan: G-d will pass before you [to Canaan] and He will destroy the nations from before you, and you shall inherit them. Joshua will lead you into Israel, as G-d has spoken.”
- “G-d will do onto the nations as He did to Sihon and Og, the Amorite kings, and their land, which He obliterated. G-d will deliver these nations to you, and you shall do with them that which I commanded.
- Not to fear: Be strong, do not fear the gentile’s nations as G-d your G-d will be leading you and will not forsake you.”
Third Aliyah (Fifth Aliyah when combined with Nitzavim)
- Moses appoints and encourages Joshua: Moses summoned Joshua and said to him in front of all the Jewish people to be strong, as he will lead the Jewish people into the promised land and conquer it. “G-d will lead you and be with you and will not forsake you. Do not be afraid.”
- Moses gives a Torah scroll to the tribe of Levi:
- Moses wrote this Torah and gave it to the Kohanim who carry the Aron, and to all the elders of Israel.
- The Mitzvah of Hakhel:
- Moses commanded them as follows: “At the end of the seventh [i.e. Shemita] year, during Sukkot, when all of the children of Israel come [to Jerusalem] to visit G-d, you are to read this Torah before them.
- Gather the men, women, children and converts so that they hear and learn and install fear of G-d in their hearts to perform all of the Torah commands. Their children who are ignorant will hear and learn to fear G-d throughout all the days that you live on earth, on the land that you will inherit.”
Fifth Aliyah (Sixth Aliyah when combined with Nitzavim)
- G-d instructs Moses before his death:
- G-d summons Moses and Joshua: G-d said to Moses: “Your days are limited, and you will soon pass away. Summon Joshua and you and him should stand before Me by the Tent of Meeting and I will command you.” Moses and Joshua did as instructed and stood before the Tent of Meeting. G-d appeared in the Tent of Meeting in a pillar of cloud.
- G-d tells Moses the future sins of the Jewish people and their punishments: G-d told Moses that he will soon pass away and the Jewish people will stray after Moses’s passing. “They will stray after the foreign deities and they will leave Me and annul My covenant which I made with them. I will be very angry on that day and will forsake them and hide My face from them. They will become prey, and much evil and suffering will befall them. On that day it will be said “All this tragedy is happening to me because I do not have G-d found within my midst.” I, G-d, will hide My face from them on that day due to all the evil they did, as they turned to other Gods.”
- G-d commands Moses to write the song of Haazinu:
- “Now, you shall write for yourselves this song and teach it to the Jewish people. Place it on their mouths in order so this song serve as a testimony to them.”
Sixth Aliyah (Seventh Aliyah when combined with Nitzavim)
- “I will bring the Jewish people to the promised land, the land of milk and honey, and they will eat to satiation and stray after other gods, breaking My covenant. When tragedy befalls them, this song will be their testimony. This song shall never be forgotten from their offspring.” [It will serve as testimony that I forewarned regarding the punishments if they do not guard my words.]
- Moses wrote the song on that day and taught it to the children of Israel. So it was that Moses completed the writing of the Torah until its end.
- Moses instructs the Levites to place the Sefer Torah in the Aron:
- Moses instructed the tribe of Levi who carry the Aron as follows: “Take this Sefer Torah and place it at the side of the Aron as a testimony. I know the nation’s rebellious nature and stubbornness as I witnessed during my leadership and as will occur after my death.”
- Moses summons the leaders to gather before him and teaches them the song of testimony:
- Moses asked for all the elders of Israel to gather before him for him to teach them all these words, and called the heaven and earth to bear witness. “I know that the Jewish people will become corrupt after my death and stray away from the commands, and tragedies will befall them in the end of days.”
- Moses told this song to all of the Jewish people, until its conclusion.
Verses: 52 [Siman: כלב]
Haftorah: Samuel 2 22:1-51
|Number of Mitzvot:
There are no Mitzvot in Parashat Haazinu.
- The song of Haazinu:
[Moses taught the children of Israel the Haazinu song which consisted of the following points:]
- The heavens and earth are to hear [and bear witness] of my words.
- May my teachings be like rain and dew.
- Praise G-d: When I call the name of G-d bring greatness to His name.
- G-d’s Justice: G-d is perfect in His work and all His actions are justified. He is not corrupt.
- Admonishment: How can you act crookedly towards your father who acquired you, who made you and established you?
- Remember the days of old and contemplate the past generations. Ask your father and grandfather how G-d separated the nations according to the people of Israel.
- G-d’s love for the Jewish people: A portion of G-d is His people and Jacob is the rope of His inheritance. He found him in the desert and guarded him like the pupil of His eye. He acted like an eagle protecting his children. G-d alone did this without any other god.
- G-d carried him over the high mountains and fed him the produce of the earth, nursing him with honey and oil from the rocks. Cattle and flock, milk, meat of various animals, and the blood of grapes were given to them.
- Jewish rebelliousness: The Jewish people became fattened and rebelled and deserted G-d. They provoked Him with abominations, slaughtering to demons and foreign entities. You ignored the Rock who gave birth to you and the G-d who brought you out.
- G-d’s punishments to the Jews: G-d will become angry at what He sees, and He will hide His face from them. “Just as they angered Me with a foreign god so too I will anger them with a foreign nation. Fire will burn through My nostrils and consume the land and its produce. Bloated by famine, they will have the teeth of animals sent against them. Outside there will be the sword [of war], and inside will be fear. I will scatter them amongst the nations and obliterate their memory from man. The nations will think this is their doing and not that of G-d. They are a nation bereft of council or understanding.
- If they were bright they would understand that it is not possible for one person to chase a thousand, and two people 10,000, unless G-d has sold them.
- Where are the gods whom they worshiped and trusted in, why did they not save them? I am G-d and no other god is with Me. I put to death and bring life and I strike down and heal.”
- G-d’s punishments to the gentiles: “I will return vengeance upon My enemies and to those who hate Me. My arrow will become drunk with blood. Let all the nations sing the praise of the Jewish people as He will avenge the death of His servants. He will bring retribution to His enemies and appease His land and His people.”
- Moses teaches the song to the Jewish people:
- Moses came and spoke the words of this song to the Jewish people, him and Joshua Ben Nun. After its conclusion, Moses told the Jewish people to pay close attention to these words of testimony said today, to guard all the words of the Torah. “The Torah is not empty for you, as it is your very life and with it you will lengthen your days on the land that you will inherit.”
- G-d instructs Moses to ascends the mountain of Nebo:
- G-d spoke to Moses on the essence of this day saying that he should ascend the mountain of Avarim, mountain of Nebo, which is in the land of Moab, facing Jericho. He should gaze at the land of Canaan which will be given to the children of Israel as an inheritance. “You will die on this mountain, just as Aaron your brother died due to that you transgressed against me with the story of Mei Meriva in Kadesh, and did not sanctify Me amongst the Jewish people. You will see the land but not enter it”
Verses: 41[Siman: גאואל]
Haftorah: Joshua 1:1-18
|Number of Mitzvot:
There are no Mitzvot in Parashat Vezot Haberachah.
- The blessing of Moses prior to his death:
- The following is the blessing that Moses, the man of G-d, blessed the Jewish people prior to his death.
- Singing the blessings of all the Jewish people: G-d came from Sinai and gave you the fire of his law [i.e. the Torah]. He has loved the Jewish people. The Torah that Moses commanded is the inheritance of the congregation of Jacob. G-d became king over the Jewish people when their tribes are gathered together.
- Blessing of Reuben: May Reuben live and multiply to many numbers.
- Blessing of Judah: May G-d listen to the voice of Judah, and help him against his enemies.
- Blessing of Levi: Your Urim and Tumim have been given to the man of kindness whom You have tested. They have guarded your covenant and preserved your command. They will teach the laws to Jacob and its statutes to the Jewish people. They will bring You the Ketores incense and sacrifices. G-d shall bless his possessions and bring success to his work. He will destroy his opponents and not allow his enemies to rise.
- Blessing of Benjamin: Benjamin is a friend of G-d, may he dwell securely by Him. He protects him all day and dwells between his shoulders.
- Blessing of Joseph: Joseph’s land is blessed by G-d with the delicacies of the heavens, with dew and the depths of waters. With delicacies of the sun and moon, and the mountains and hills. He is a firstborn, an ox, glorified with the horns of a Reim. He will gore the nations.
- Blessing of Zebulun and Issachar: Zebulun should rejoice in his outings [of business] and Issachar in his tents [of Torah learning]. They will slaughter together offerings on the mountain and benefit from the treasures of the sea and sand.
- Blessing of Gad: Gad dwells like a lion and tears the head and arm of the enemy. He took the first portions [of the land of Sihon and Og] as there is buried the lawgiver [Moses].
- Blessing of Dan: Dan is a lion cub who springs forth from the Bashan.
- Blessing of Naftali: Naftali is satiated [with all his land desires] and is filled with the blessing of G-d. He inherits the sea and the south.
- Blessing of Asher: Asher is blessed with sons and is pleasing to his brothers. He dips his foot in oil. His locks are iron and copper.
- Praising G-d and Israel: There is no one like the G-d of Yeshurun who rides the heavens.
- He destroyed the enemy from before you and secures the dwelling of the Jewish people in a land of grain and wine which drips dew. Praised are you Israel, who is like you, a people delivered by G-d who was your shield and sword.
- Moses is shown the land of Israel and the future times:
- Moses ascended from the plains of Moab to the summit of the mountain of Nabo. G-d showed him the entire land, from Gilad until Dan, Naftali and the land of Ephraim and Manasseh, the entire land of Judah until the western sea [and until the last day of the resurrection]. He showed him the south and the valley of Jericho, the city of date palms, as far as Tzoar.
- G-d told Moses that this is the land that was promised to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob be given to their descendants. You saw it with your eyes but you will not enter there.
- Moses passes away:
- Moses the servant of G-d passed away in the land of Moab by the mouth of G-d.
- The burial: G-d buried him in the gorge of the land and no one is aware of his burial place until this very day.
- His age: Moses was 120 years of age at his passing. His eye did not dim, and his moisture did not leave him.
- The mourning: The Jewish people mourned Moses’s passing in the plains of Moab for thirty days.
- Joshua the new leader: Joshua Ben Nun was filled with wisdom, as Moses leaned his hands on him and the Jewish people listened to him and followed the instructions G-d commanded Moses.
- None like Moses: There has never been a prophet amongst the Jewish people like Moses to whom G-d had made Himself known face to face. For all the miracles and wonders which G-d sent him to perform in Egypt, against Pharaoh and his servants, and all his land, and for all the miracles that Moses performed before the eyes of all Israel.
Chazak Chazak Vinitchazek!
 So is followed by Sepharadi and Chabad communities. However, Ashkenazi communities read also from Yoel 2:11-27 and only then read from Micah 7:18-19.
 This only applies if Haazinu falls between Yom Kippur and Sukkos, otherwise the Haftorah of Shabbos Shuva is read.