Shuvah Yisrael

We call the Sabbath that falls between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur "Shabbat Shuvah" which means "the Sabbath of Repentance."

To repent means to turn around, quit sinning, and start doing good. (Image © Bigstock)

Vayelech

Special Shabbat Reading

Special readings are applicable this Shabbat.

  • Shabbat Shuvah (שבת שובה | Shabbat of Return)
  • Haftarah: Hosea 14:2-10; Micah 7:18-20; Joel 2:15-27
  • Gospel: Matthew 18:21-35

Shabbat Shuvah or Shabbat T'shuvah ("Sabbath [of] Return" שבת שובה or "Sabbath [of] Repentance" שבת תשובה) refers to the Shabbat that occurs during the Ten Days of Repentance, but is between (i.e. not including): the two consecutive Days of Rosh Hashanah; and the Day of Yom Kippur. The name Shabbat Shuvah comes from the first word of the Haftarah that is read on that day, Hosea 14:2-10, and literally means "Return!" It is alternately known as Shabbat T'shuvah owing to its being one of the Aseret Y'mei T'shuvah (Ten Day of Repentance).

Regular Shabbat Readings

Read / Listen to these Portions

  • Vayelech (וילך | He went)
  • Torah: Deuteronomy 31:1-31:30
  • Haftarah: Isaiah 55:6-56:8
  • Gospel: Matthew 21:9-17

Note: The regular readings are often interrupted with special readings on Jewish holidays, special Sabbaths, and Rosh Chodesh. Refer to the annual Torah Portion schedule for these special portions.

Portion Outline

  • Torah
    • Deuteronomy 31:1 | Joshua Becomes Moses' Successor
    • Deuteronomy 31:9 | The Law to Be Read Every Seventh Year
    • Deuteronomy 31:14 | Moses and Joshua Receive God's Charge
    • Deuteronomy 31:30 | The Song of Moses
  • Prophets
    • Isaiah 55:1 | An Invitation to Abundant Life
    • Isaiah 56:1 | The Covenant Extended to All Who Obey
    • Isaiah 56:9 | The Corruption of Israel's Rulers

Portion Summary

The name of the fifty-second reading from the Torah is Vayelech (וילך), which means "and he went." The name is derived from the first word of the first verse of the portion: "So Moses went (vayelech) and spoke these words to all Israel." In this short portion, Moses commands an assembly for a public Torah reading and covenant renewal once every seven years. He then finishes writing the scroll of the Torah and has it deposited in the Holy of Holies next to the ark of the covenant.


Rabbi Levi said, "Great is repentance, for it reaches up to the Throne of Glory, as it is written, 'Return, O Israel, to the LORD your God.'" Resh Lakish said, "Great is repentance, for by virtue of it one's intentional sins are regarded as mere errors, as it is written [in Hosea 14:1], 'Return, O Israel, to the LORD your God for you have stumbled (which is accidental) because of your iniquity (which is intentional)'" (b.Yoma 86a).

Hosea 14:2-10(1-9) is part of the haftarah reading for Shabbat Shuvah (Sabbath of Repentance), the Sabbath that falls between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. In this passage, the prophet Hosea makes one last desperate plea, beseeching Israel to repent and save themselves from the coming catastrophe. He says, "Return, O Israel!" The Hebrew word for "return" is the imperative shuvah (שובה), a word that also is translated as "repent." Repentance is Hosea's central message and the message of every prophet of God. Repentance is also the primary message of the Gospel. Most of Yeshua's teachings were calls to repentance. Most of His parables were illustrations about repentance.

To repent means to turn around, quit sinning, and start doing good. More specifically, it is a call to quit breaking God's commandments and return to His Torah. Repentance from evil deeds is one of the foundational, elementary teachings about the Messiah (Hebrews 6:1).

The Master brought a message of repentance, always teaching, "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand" (Matthew 3:2). He told men that if they did not repent, they would perish (Luke 13:3). He said that He came only to call sinners to repentance (Luke 5:32), for "He is the one whom God exalted to His right hand as a Prince and a Savior, to grant repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins" (Acts 5:31).

He told His disciples that repentance for the forgiveness of sins must be proclaimed in His name to all nations ( Luke 24:46-47) because "God is now declaring to men that all people everywhere should repent" (Acts 17:30). "They went out and preached that men should repent" (Mark 6:12). They went out, "solemnly testifying to both Jews and Greeks of repentance toward God and faith in our Lord Yeshua the Messiah" (Acts 20:21), "even to the Gentiles, that they should repent and turn to God, performing deeds appropriate to repentance" (Acts 26:20). Because of this, "God has granted to the Gentiles also the repentance that leads to life" (Acts 11:18), and "repentance leading to the knowledge of the truth" (2 Timothy 2:25), for He does not wish "for any to perish but for all to come to repentance" (2 Peter 3:9).

"The kindness of God leads you to repentance" (Romans 2:4), "a repentance without regret, leading to salvation" (2 Corinthians 7:10). "Repent and return, so that your sins may be wiped away" (Acts 3:19). "Repent of this wickedness of yours, and pray the Lord that, if possible, the intention of your heart may be forgiven you" (Acts 8:22). "Therefore be zealous and repent" (Revelation 3:19). "Bear fruit in keeping with repentance" (Matthew 3:8). "Repent and do the [good] deeds you did at first; or else I am coming to you and will remove your lampstand out of its place—unless you repent" (Revelation 2:5). "So remember what you have received and heard; and keep it, and repent" (Revelation 3:3).

Join the Conversation:

FFOZ Friends are individuals, families, or congregations who resonate with the mission and vision of First Fruits of Zion and contribute financially towards reaching our ministry objectives.

Become a Friend!


More from Vayelech

Torah Portions Library

Unlock all the portion library articles: sign in,
or join our Core community »


Share this Teaching

Torah Club is an interactive group Bible study that brings together disciples from diverse backgrounds to share the common ground of new discovery. We have more than three hundred clubs forming around the world. Find a Torah Club in your area. If there is none, prayerfully consider joining our global mission and start a club in your area—there are others like you who want to be a part of Torah Club.

Learn More


Get the Email Newsletter

The Weekly eDrash

Get inspirational teachings on the Torah Portions delivered to your inbox free every week. Insightful commentary from Genesis to Deuteronomy!

EMAIL NEWSLETTER SIGN UP


Related Commentary

Torah Portions Library

Unlock all the portion library articles: sign in, or join our Core community »


© 2018 First Fruits of Zion, Inc., All Rights Reserved

FOLLOW US ON

First Fruits of Zion

© 2018, All Rights Reserved

Copyright Privacy Contact Help Donate