Parshat Vayeilekh (He Went)

The Torah portion is Vayeilekh, Deuteronomy 31:1-31:30.

This is another very short Torah portion as we approach the end. Moses anticipates his passing and the transfer of authority to Joshua. The Torah is given to the Priests to put in the Ark, and will be read in full to all men, women and children every seven years (in the sh'mitah year, the year when the land lies fallow and debts are released) during the festival of Sukkot. It warns that the people will go astray, but these words will be a witness against them.

The haftarah is for Shabbat Shuvah, Hosea 14:2-10, Micah 7:18-20, Joel 2:15-27. The Sabbath of Return, between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, we read several short passages about returning to G-d after sin and being forgiven. The Hosea passage begins "Shuva Yisrael!" (Return, Israel!) and the Micah passage contains "Yashuv y'rachameinu" (He will take us back in love). The Joel passage talks about blowing a shofar (a Rosh Hashanah tradition) and solemnizing a fast (a Yom Kippur tradition). There is some variation in exactly what verses from Joel different synagogues use.

In synagogues using the Sephardic tradition, the Haftarah is Hosea 14:2-10, Micah 7:18-20.