A SUMMARY OF NETZAVIM & VAYLECH, Deut. 29:9-30:20, 31:1-30.

All Israel gathers to renew God's covenant with the patriarchs, and to pass it on to their descendants. But one secret idolator may lead to a mass abandonment of Torah, desolation of Israel, and exile; all Jews are responsible for each other. Their great tragedies will reveal to other nations both Israel's low state and God's response to it.

CH. 30: Long after the Jews are scattered everywhere, many very far from Israel and Torah in body and spirit, they'll return to God, and He to them; He'll bring them back to Israel for a future even more glorious than their past. Their enemies will then be repaid by God. Israel is always free to return to God, Whose Word is close and accessible in any circumstances. If they don't, they'll wind up serving idols and going into exile.

CH. 31: Moshe, 120, winds up his career by appointing Joshua as his successor and exhorting him and Israel to fight fearlessly for their land. He wrote down and delivered the Torah; the king is to read it before all of Israel on Sukkos after each sabbatical year, as a new agricultural cycle begins. God warns Moshe of prosperous Israel's defection after his impending death-but the Torah, especially Moshe's epilogue, Haazinu, will always accompany them amidst their travails, a guide to their eventual return. Moshe completed the Torah and had the Levites place it alongside (or in) the Ark.

THE HAFTORA (for Nitzavim and when the two portions are joined) is IS. 61:10-63:9; it's the last of 7 haftoros of consolation to Israel, who mourn their low state, distant from God, experienced on Tisha B'Av. Only after they're consoled and functioning, do they work on themselves zealously during the 10 days of repentance. Once they succeed, they celebrate, back with God, on Sukkos.

The Jewish People, joyously united with God, will never give up hope for its restoration in Zion and Jerusalem. It will then gradually grow to become a light and a delight to the chastised world, rather than the object of scorn and persecution. When the portions are read separately, Haftorat Vayelech is SHUVA YISROEL, HOSHEA 14:2-10, MICHA 7:18-20, & YOEL 2:11-27, urging Israel to return to their Lord, on the Sabbath of Repentence. Varied customs exist as to the verses read and their order.

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