September 29, 2022 / 4 Tishrei, 5783 • Parshat Vayeilech
Issue 737
Dedicated in loving memory of Mrs. Miriam Friedman

When all Israel comes to appear before G-d, in
the place He will choose, you must read this Torah
before all Israel so they hear.

Deuteronomy 31:11

Moses conveyed G-d's command to the people that they assemble once every seven years, during the festival of Sukot, in order to hear their king read specific passages from the Torah. Although they were commanded to study the Torah in any case, this ceremony was designed to instill renewed commitment to G-d's covenant with them.

We are all required to appoint a metaphorical “king” over ourselves, i.e., a spiritual counselor responsible for ensuring that we stay firmly on the path of spiritual growth. This king’s primary responsibility is to “read to us” – i.e., inculcate us with – the samepassages from the Torah that the real king reads to the people at the septennial assembly.

The first passage that the king reads (Deuteronomy 6:4-9) focuses on accepting “the yoke of the kingdom of heaven,” i.e., submitting to G-d’s authority. The second passage (Deuteronomy 11:13-21) teaches us that material success is dependent upon heeding G-d’s commands.

Keeping these two lessons in the forefront of our consciousness is the key to continued spiritual growth.

—from Daily Wisdom3