Parshat Devarim (The Words)

The Torah portion is Devarim, Deuteronomy 1:1-3:22. In synagogues using the Triennial system, 5781 is year 2 and the Torah reading is Deuteronomy 2:2-2:30.

This is the first parshah of the Book of Devarim, known in English as Deuteronomy. The name of the book, as with all parshiyot, is simply the first distinctive word in the book. This parshah begins Moses' speech to the Israelites on the border of the Promised Land, giving a summary of the People's journey up to that point. Remember that this journey took 40 years, and the adults at the beginning are no longer living, so this is a speech to their children, now adults, who were not born or were very young when this story began.

The haftarah is for 3rd Haftarah of Admonition, Isaiah 1:1-27. This is the last Haftarah of Admonition before the fast of Tisha B'Av, which remembers the many tragedies that the Jewish people have suffered. In this Haftarah, Isaiah berates the People as rebellious evildoers, and attributes the destroyed state of their land to their behavior. It emphasizes that sacrifices and offerings will not put them right; they must do good and justice to the wronged, the widow and the orphan.