Parsha Vayeyleh



Moses is about to die. He calls Joshua to describe his mission and to encourage him. This narrative is another example of one that is repeated three times in the Torah and indicates a pattern in repetitions rather than a randomness.

Here the Torah focuses not just on him as a leader, but on the importance of the mechanisms for retaining a unified people. Moses writes down copy of the Torah for the priests. It seems there was a copy for the people and one for the leader. Earlier the Torah had mentioned the importance of the king having a copy.

Now the Torah commands the Hakhel ceremony at the end of every seven-year cycle for the people to hear the Torah read in public. A reaffirmation of the constitution. Everyone had to be there, even the children. Notice the continuing emphasis on education, on children.

We do not know if this ever happened. Even if it did not, the principle remains a core one. Every person has equal access to the sources. There is no elite class of scholars automatically passing information down to a select few. The leader ‘s job is to ensure that everyone is involved.