Deuteronomy 11:26-16:17

Deuteronomy chapter 11, verse 26 to chapter 16, verse 17


Moses is speaking to the Israelies for the last time before they enter the Promised Land. He tells them that if they follow God’s rules they will be blessed, more then all the other people on earth.  However, if they don’t obey the commandments, they will be cursed. If they wish to possess the Land of Israel, they must follow God’s commandments.

Moses continues his speech by explaining the rules the people need to obey.  They first need to destroy their enemies’ holy sites, where they worshiped false gods.  Then God will choose a place that will be holy to the Israelites. This will be a central place of worship for the people.  This is where the people will bring offerings and donations.

Moses tells the people that they may eat meat in their communities but they are not allowed to consume blood. They are also not allowed to eat the donations that they set aside as sacrifices to God.

Moses warns the Israelites not to worship the gods of the people who once dwelled in the Promised Land.  They should not follow a false prophet. When the people are mourning, they are not allowed to shave.

Moses then explains the laws of kashrut. They can only eat mammals s that have hoofs and chew their cud; only fish that have scales and fins; only specific types of birds, no swarming insects; no animal that died a natural death. They are also not allowed to boil a kid in its mother’s milk.

Moss tells the people that they must donate a 10th of the crops to the central worship place.  If someone lives to far away from this central location, they can donate an equivalent amount of money.  A portion of these donations go to support the priests, strangers, orphans and widows.

Moses explains that every seventh year people are released from their debt. The people are obligated to help the needy, lending them what they need to live.  Hebrew slaves are also released every seven years. This is because the Israelites were once slaves themselves.

Moses ends this portion with a description of the three pilgrimage festivals;  Pesach, Shavuot and Sukkot.

Torah Portion in English

1) These are the laws and rules that you must carefully observe in the land that the Lord, God of your fathers, is giving you to possess, as long as you live on earth.

2) You must destroy all the sites at which the nations you are to dispossess worshiped their gods, whether on lofty mountains and on hills or under any luxuriant tree. 3) Tear down their altars, smash their pillars, put their sacred posts to the fire, and cut down the images of their gods, obliterating their name from that site.

4) Do not worship the Lord your God in like manner, 5) but look only to the site that the Lord your God will choose amidst all your tribes as His habitation, to establish His name there. There you are to go, 6) and there you are to bring your burnt offerings and other sacrifices, your tithes and contributions, your votive and freewill offerings, and the firstlings of your herds and flocks. 7) Together with your households, you shall feast there before the Lord your God, happy in all the undertakings in which the Lord your God has blessed you.

8) You shall not act at all as we now act here, every man as he pleases, 9) because you have not yet come to the allotted haven that the Lord your God is giving you. 10) When you cross the Jordan and settle in the land that the Lord your God is allotting to you, and He grants you safety from all your enemies around you and you live in security.

Getting to Know my Parasha

What Does my Parasha Say?

  1. What does the phrase “I set before you a blessing and a curse” mean?
  2. What are the people supposed to do when they enter the land?  Why?
  3. Look up what the laws of Kashrut are. What animals are forbidden to us?
  4. Where were the Children of Israel told to worship?
  5. How much of their crop or income were the Israelites supposed to donate?
  6. Where did these donations go?
  7. What happened every seven years?
  8. If an animal died a natural death, what were the people allowed to do with it?