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Vezot HaBrachah (Deuteronomy 33:1-34:12)

The final Torah reading before we roll the Torah back to the beginning takes its name from the opening line, Vezot ha’brachah, which means “This is the blessing.” It contains the concluding words of Moses before his death. In his final breath, he blesses the Children of Israel with various blessings that can be difficult to fully understand. At the beginning of the chapter, however, Moses gives a vivid description of God as a groom coming out to meet Israel, His bride, at Sinai. There is a portion of this passage that can help us understand a responsibility we have as God’s children. The chapter begins by describing God coming out to meet Israel at Sinai. Right after this, we read, “Thus the LORD became king in Jeshurun, when the heads of the people were gathered, all the tribes of Israel together” (Deuteronomy 33:5). What does this mean?

First, Jeshurun (or the Hebrew, Yeshurun) comes from the Hebrew root, yashar, which means “upright.” It is only used four times in the Scriptures: three times at the end of Deuteronomy and one time in Isaiah. It is a description of Israel when she is walking in righteousness before the LORD.

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