Parashat Vaetchanan – Erev Shabbat 28 July 2023 (5783)
Week of 23-29 July 2023
Torah portion: Deuteronomy 3:23-7:11 Haftarah: Isaiah 40:1-26
Throughout this portion, Moses recalls the events, commandments, and teachings that shaped the Israelites’ journey from slavery in Egypt to the edge of the Promised Land. By doing so, he emphasizes the importance of learning from the past and passing down this knowledge to future generations. Remembering their history becomes an integral part of the Israelites’ identity, reinforcing their unique relationship with God and their role as a chosen people.
Remembering is not solely about recalling past events but also about recognizing and acknowledging God’s role in our lives. Moses emphasizes the covenant between God and the Israelites and their dependence on God for guidance, protection, and blessings. This acknowledgment fosters a sense of humility, gratitude, and reliance on the Divine.
Remembering is also important in preserving what are essential values in life and the community’s heritage. In a rapidly changing world, where cultures intermingle and traditions can be diluted, the importance of preserving one’s heritage, values, and beliefs becomes paramount. Parashat Vaetchanan encourages individuals and communities to cherish their roots and draw strength from their history, anchoring themselves in their cultural and spiritual identities.
The theme of “remembering” reminded me of the recent celebration of the 40th anniversary of Bat Kol Institute/Organization. Maureena Fritz, founder of Bat Kol Institute, has now handed over Bat Kol with its different entities to her sisters, colleagues, and friends. She, like Moses, sent them to explore further than what she could imagine. The event coordinated by the Bat Kol International Leadership Team with the alumni recalled the blessings that Bat Kol Institute has brought them. I could only imagine how it must have felt for Maureena as a founder of the Institute. The seed has now grown into a very fruitful tree!
As for the Bat Kol Institute and our own personal lives, the lesson on remembering in Parashat Vaetchanan serves as a powerful reminder of the significance of history, memory, and tradition. It teaches the value of learning from the past, acknowledging God’s presence in our lives, and embracing our collective identity. By remembering and preserving our stories and teachings, we can navigate the challenges of the present and build a more informed and purposeful future.
For Reflection and Discussion: Share and recall your experiences in the Bat Kol Program/s that you attended.
This week’s Parasha Commentary was prepared by
Sr. Petite Lao, RNDM, Philippines, Bat kol Alum 2010, 2011, 2014