This Week’s Torah Portion



📜 Va’etchanan(I pleaded — ואתחנן Hebrew for “and I pleaded,”) the first word in the parashah) is the 45th weekly Torah portion (פָּרָשָׁה‎, parashah in the annual cycle of Torah reading and the second in the Book of Deuteronomy. It comprises Deuteronomy 3:23–7:11. The parashah tells how Moses asked to see the Land of Israel, made arguments to obey the law, recounted setting up the Cities of Refuge, recited the Ten Commandments and the Shema, and gave instructions for the Israelites’ conquest of the Land.

Portion: Deuteronomy 3:23-7:11

Reflection: Cities of refuge. In this week’s Torah portion we read about cities of refuge for those who need to flee if they accidentally kill someone. When you fled to a city of refuge you could not be harmed. Many houses of worship in America took up this Torah principal and if you fled into a house of worship you could not be killed. Today those who advocate for immigrant justice use this principal from Torah to use their congregations as sanctuaries for immigrants facing deportation. Cities like New York City adopted this principal to become sanctuary cities for immigrants. Some African tribes also had sanctuary areas where people could flee to and not be harmed. There are many aspects of our society that have been influenced by the wisdom and justice of Torah but if you do not know Torah this may go over your head or you may even fight against these principals when they are enacted in public life.

Resource: Read my reflection on sanctuary for ONScripture & Day1 Network: Living as Sojourners in a Strange Land (1 Peter 1:17-23)

📖 Let’s read this week’s Torah Portion!