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Torah Portion Vezot Hab'rachah - Jews pray for the World

Deuteronomium 33:1-33:7

וְזֹ֣את לִיהוּדָה֮ וַיֹּאמַר֒ שְׁמַ֤ע יְהֹוָה֙ ק֣וֹל יְהוּדָ֔ה וְאֶל־עַמּ֖וֹ תְּבִיאֶ֑נּוּ יָדָיו֙ רָ֣ב ל֔וֹ וְעֵ֥זֶר מִצָּרָ֖יו תִּהְיֶֽה׃

And this he said of Judah:

Hear, HaShem, the voice of Judah

And restore him to his people.

Though his own hands strive for him,

Help him against his foes

(Deutr. 33:2)

For Noahides

Judah starts a mistake with his daughter-in-law and had felt

humiliated himself publicly when he admitted that his daughter-in-law had become pregnant by him. (Genesis 38.26) He could also have kept his mouth shut, and no one would have known about his mistake.

Admitting a mistake makes someone great. It strengthens yourself - despite the initial shame - because you know you made right choice.

It strengthens your neighbour, who learns from your behaviour that it is the right behaviour, and it strengthens your neighbour by giving him a chance to forgive your behaviour.

When admitting mistakes is done not only with the person in question but publicly, the immediate environment learns from it, which makes it contribute to a healthy and habitable society (the 7th Law of the 7 Noahides Laws)

In addition, every behaviour here on earth also affects heaven. Because if your neighbour can forgive you and show compassion, this attribute is also raised in heaven. As a result, heaven will also show more compassion to the whole world at that time.

Openly acknowledging Judah's mistake had these many great positive consequences. It makes Moses bless the tribe of Judah. The blessing is that when Judah sees that his people are in trouble and he prays for them G-d will answer his prayer.

We can extend this to the Jewish people as a whole. When they pray for the nations of the world, G-d will answer their prayer positively.

As we can learn from Ibn. Ezra on Isaiah 53:11

And he shall bear their iniquities.

Israel will sympathise with the heathen nations in their misfortunes, which have come upon them for their many sins; although they do not sympathise with Israel in his afflictions. The meaning of the phrase might also be this: The Israelites will pray to G-d for the other nations, and thereby take away their sins.

When we connect this to Sukkot, we see that the peoples march up to Jerusalem to pray to G-d. The Jewish people will pray for the peoples who are marching up and so, for example, enough rain will fall.

(Also read the blog "how to celebrate Sukkot" about the prayer for rain)

Brought By Angelique Sijbolts


Angelique Sijbolts is one of the main writers for the Noahide Academy. She has been an observant Noahide for many years. She studies Torah with Rabbi Perets every week. Angelique invests much of her time in editing video-lectures for the Rabbis of the Academy and contributes in administrating the Academy's website in English and Dutch. She lives in the north of the Netherlands. Married and mother of two sons. She works as a teacher in a school with students with special needs. And is a Hebrew Teacher for the levels beginners and intermediate. She likes to walk, to read and play the piano.




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