19 Aug Rabbi Hillel Skolnik’s Torah Spark for Va’etchanan 5776
This Shabbat we read from Parashat Va’etchanan and also mark what is known as Shabbat Nachamu, the Shabbat of comfort. Shabbat Nachamu always falls on the Shabbat immediately following Tish’a B’av and is always in conjunction with the reading of Parashat Va’etchanan which includes, among other things, the Sh’ma. While the concept of comfort comes primarily from the haftarah, taken from the 40th chapter of Isaiah, there is also something comforting about reading the Sh’ma in its place in the Torah. So often we find passages in the Torah that are difficult to connect with and might seem to represent a thinking consistent with a different time. But each year when we read the Sh’ma we are reminded of so many other texts that speak directly to us and in this case are still the central declaration of our faith.
Rabbi Hillel Skolnik