"Their children, too, who have not had the experience, shall hear and learn..." (Devarim/Deuteronomy 31:13)
In Vayelech ("and he went"), Moses encourages the Israelites to be strong and resolute, reiterates blessings for faithfulness and curses for unfaithfulness... and then he writes a song which can serve as a witness against them.
The actual content of this parsha is overwhelmed, for me, by its haunting underpinnings--that Moses is aware that the divinely-measured span of his life is ticking down to its last moments. Is it a blessing or a curse to know exactly when you're going to die? And is that why the song/poem that is the last thing he writes is so long? Was he trying to stretch out those final moments?
Join us at 9:00 am this Saturday for coffee, donuts, and what's always a lively discussion.
Want to know what other Jewish thinkers are saying about this parsha?
Wikipedia has an incredible treasure trove of geekery about the weekly portion, laying out everything from the number of Hebrew letters in the parsha to summaries of classical commentaries. Prepare to go down a very deep rabbithole.
Sefaria is an amazing free resource--an ever-growing library of Jewish texts in both Hebrew and English. In addition to the Hebrew text and translation, it provides the text of most of the classical commentaries (not all of which have been translated... yet). The parsha is one of the first links on the main page.
Rabbi Rick Jacobs, the president of the Union for Reform Judaism, does a podcast called Ten Minutes of Torah--perfect for when you're time-constrained. The Union for Reform Judaism has a whole page of resources for the parsha, ranging from beginner's guides to pieces on the contemporary relevance of the portion. The Women of Reform Judaism site has a glorious archive of the entire text of The Torah: A Women's Commentary divided up by parsha.
My Jewish Learning has a summary of the portion, the parsha itself and the haftorah, and commentary.
For a Reconstructionist take, visit Reconstructing Judaism's weekly learning page.
T'ruah, the Rabbinic Call for Human Rights, has a weekly d'var that looks at the parsha as a starting point for contemporary political issues.
The World Union for Progressive Judaism has a parsha commentary archive.
Keshet's Torah Queeries page provides commentary from an LGBTQ perspective (search on the portion name).
The Jewish Theological Society (the Conservative Branch seminary) provides weekly commentary at JTS Torah Online.
Yeshivat Maharat, the first Orthodox yeshiva to ordain women, has a collection of Divrei Torah written by women and organized by parsha, on its site.
Limmud, a 35-year-old grassroots Jewish learning event that started in the UK and has become an international phenomenon, maintains an archive of commentaries.
Liberal Judaism's Thought for the Week provides concise but thoughtful analysis of the portion.
Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks, Chief Rabbi Emeritus of England, engages in profound commentary on the weekly portion in Covenant & Conversation.
InterfaithFamily puts out an animated Torahlog including contemporary reactions, poetry, folk music, and Jewish scholarship on the parsha.