This week’s Torah Portion covers Deuteronomy 32:1-52. This is our second to last reading in Deuteronomy which means we are almost to the finish line in our goal to read the first five books of the Bible in one year.
The portions are getting shorter each week because we are also in the middle of the High Holidays on the Jewish calendar. So in addition to reading through Deuteronomy in sequence, Jews are also reading various holiday texts as part of their liturgical services for Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, and Sukkot.
Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur have passed and now we are heading towards Sukkot, also known as the Feast of Tabernacles. Sukkot begins September 23rd and ends September 30th.
Deuteronomy 32 breaks in style and format with the rest of the covenant book. The chapter is a seventy-line poem. Tradition holds that Moses sang it to the people on his last day of life.
What Moses sings next perfectly fits the theme of our coming holiday, Sukkot. Moses warns them that after the wanderings and after the battles, they will settle in the land and they will have the comforts that land possession affords: milk, meat, wine, cheese, oil, and wheat. The poem is a cautionary tale against the dulling effects of a full stomach on the desire for a relationship with their protector God.