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Parshat Vayelech (Deuteronomy 31:1 – 31:30) 

Rabbi David Stav 

Parshat Vayelech covers Moshe Rabbeinu’s final days before his soul departed the world. Oddly, at the conclusion of an entire book dedicated to Moshe’s warnings of what would happen to the Jewish People if they stray off the path, God tells him the following:

“Behold, you will lie with your forefathers, but this people will rise up and stray after the gods of that which is foreign to the land, in whose midst it is coming, and it will forsake Me and it will annul My covenant that I have sealed with it.” (Devarim / Deuteronomy 31:16)

In other words, God is telling Moshe that it is pointless to think that your words might have penetrated the hearts of the Jewish people or done any good. Ultimately, they will fail, I will become angry with them and conceal My face from them, and they will suffer terrible consequences, until they exclaim:

“and will say on that day, ‘Is it not because my God is not in my midst that these evils have encountered me?’” (Ibid, 31:17)

Next, Moshe gathers the people and proclaims to them that he, too, knows that after his passing, the Jewish people will go astray, and upset God through their actions. Reading these verses surely would send any of us into a bout of depression. If everything is predetermined, and the story has a foregone conclusion, why play any part in it? Why make an effort? After all, God and Moshe are telling us that they know we will sin and fail. If so, what’s the use of acting like Jews and trying to preserve our identity, if we know a priori that we stand a slim chance to succeed, or that we are doomed to fail in any case?

There are indeed those who would espouse this type of attitude when reading these verses, and tell themselves that there is no reason to aspire to anything at all in life, as the world is a gloomy and despondent place. Everyone will fail when faced with crisis and challenges, and there’s no reason to be saints in a world of sinners.

However, we could also espouse a vastly different approach when reading the verses, and this is the approach upon which we should dwell. The Torah wants to tell us that it was given to us in an imperfect world, in the framework of a reality fraught with failure. We mustn’t assume that God, who gave us the Torah, thought we would be living in a world filled with angels – the opposite is true, since He knew that most people will fail at different junctures of their lives.

Still, any human being, even if he or she fails from time to time, would prefer to live in a world of positive values, in which justice and goodliness reign supreme. Moshe’s announcement of our impending failures is actually meant to encourage us, and tell us that despite all of the failures we anticipate, we mustn’t ever give up.

There’s an old Hasidic adage that says that the biggest sin a person can commit is to profess that God isn’t present, or, in other words, that the person has lost touch with the positive side of his personality. Though this goodness may be concealed, deep within the wells of the person’s soul is the aspiration to make things better and do good. May we all merit to see all of the positive things within us and make the most of them.

Tishrei 5780

Friday, October 4, 5 Tishrei
Selichot: 6:10 am
Shacharit: 6:30 am
Mincha: 5:50 pm
Light Candles: 5:51 pm
Saturday, October 5, 6 Tishrei
Shabbat Shuvah

Shacharit: 9:00 am
Mincha: 5:35 pm
Shabbat Ends: 6:44 pm
Sunday, October 6, 7 Tishrei
Selichot & Shacharit: 8:00 am
Mincha/Ma’ariv: 5:50 pm
Monday, October 7, 8 Tishrei
Selichot: 6:10 am
Shacharit: 6:30 am
Mincha/Ma’ariv: 5:50 pm
Tuesday, October 8, 9 Tishrei
Erev Yom Kippur

Selichot: 6:15 am
Shacharit: 6:30 am
Mincha: 3:00 pm
Light Candles: 5:46 pm
Kol Nidre: 5:50 pm
Wednesday, October 9,
10 Tishrei
Yom Kippur

Shacharit: 8:30 am
Yizkor: 10:45 am
Mincha: 4:00 pm
Fast Ends: 6:40 pm
Thursday, October 10, 11 Tishrei
Shacharit: 6:30 am
Mincha/Ma’ariv: 5:45 pm
Friday, October 11, 12 Tishrei
Shacharit: 6:30 am
Mincha: 5:40 pm
Light Candles: 5:42 pm

Saturday, October 12, 13 Tishrei
Shacharit: 9:00 am
Mincha: 5:25 pm
Shabbat Ends: 6:35 pm
Sunday, October 13, 14 Tishrei
Erev Sukkot

Shacharit: 8:00 am
Mincha: 5:40 pm
Light Candles: 5:39 pm
Monday, October 14, 15 Tishrei
First Day of Sukkot

Shacharit: 9:00 am
Mincha: 5:35 pm
Light Candles: After 6:33 pm
Tuesday, October 15, 16 Tishrei
Second Day of Sukkot

Shacharit: 9:00 am
Mincha: 5:35 pm
Yom Tov Ends: 5:55 pm
Wednesday, October 16, 17 Tishrei
First Day of Chol HaMoed Sukkot

Shacharit: 6:15 am
Mincha/Ma’ariv: 5:35 pm
Thursday, October 17, 18 Tishrei
Second Day of Chol HaMoed Sukkot

Shacharit: 6:15 am
Mincha/Ma’ariv: 5:35 pm
Friday, October 18, 19 Tishrei
Third Day of Chol HaMoed Sukkot

Shacharit: 6:15 am
Mincha: 5:35 pm
Light Candles: 5:33 pm
Saturday, October 19, 20 Tishrei
Fourth Day of Chol HaMoed Sukkot

Shacharit: 9:00 am
Mincha: 5:15 pm
Shabbat Ends: 6:27 pm
Sunday, October 20, 21 Tishrei
Hoshanah Rabbah

Shacharit: 8:00 am
Mincha: 5:30 pm
Light Candles: 5:31 pm
Monday, October 21, 22 Tishrei
Shemini Atzeret

Shacharit: 9:00 am
Yizkor: 10:30 am
Mincha: 5:25 pm
Light Candles: After 6:25 pm
Ma’ariv & Hakafot: 6:30 pm
Tuesday, October 22, 23 Tishrei
Simchat Torah

Shacharit: 9:00 am
Hakafot: 10:00 am
Musaf, followed by Mincha:
1:00 pm
Ma’ariv & Simchat Torah Ends: 6:30 pm
Wednesday-Thursday, October 23-24, 24-25 Tishrei
Shacharit: 6:30 am
Mincha/Ma’ariv: 5:30 pm



Dear Friends and Members of Young Israel of Phoenix:

Time is passing quickly as our High Holy Days approach. We would like you to consider alternative ways of joining our shul or renewing your membership.

For those of you who do not particularly enjoy working at a computer, Young Israel has forms that can be filled out manually and either snail-mailed or scanned & emailed to our offices.

If you’d like to use our 2-page form to join or renew your membership, please call Young Israel (
602-265-8888), and be sure to leave a message that includes your email address or your street address.

For High Holiday tickets, please follow the same instructions as for membership. Your message will be forwarded to our Treasurer, Nechama Poor. Tickets are free for members and $100 for non-members. No one will be turned away for inability to pay.

For those of you who want to place a memorial ad in our annual Yizkor Book, please call Young Israel (
602-265-8888) and leave a message that includes your phone number. Maxine Blecher will return your call to take the information you want to include in your Yizkor ad. If you have not previously seen our Yizkor Book, please watch for the Yizkor Book notice in your email, (or scroll down) which will show a sample of a typical memorial ad.

Please accept our very best wishes for a happy, healthy, sweet, and successful 5780.

Purchase tickets for Yom Kippur - Click Here
Tradition holds that Jewish holidays call for us to remember those loved ones who have passed away. It is this remembrance, through Tefilos (prayers) and pledging Tzedakah, that we are able to bring merit to their Neshamos (souls).  These Tefilos and Tzedakah allow the memory of our loved ones to grow, for it is their memory that has inspired us to perform these Mitzvos.

There are four Yizkor dates each year, starting with Yom Kippur. Preparations have begun for the printing of our 5780 Yizkor Book, which will help us perform this mitzvah.  The proper way of performing this mitzvah is by making a monetary pledge after each Yizkor date has passed. 

Please fill out the enclosed Yizkor Book form and return it to the Shul office by no later than Friday, October 4.
Apart from the Yizkor Book, we ask members to provide the Shul with information about the names and Yahrzeit dates of your departed relatives so that we can send out reminder letters to you in advance of each such Yahrzeit date.  We are taking this opportunity to verify and update our database of Yahrzeit dates.  Even if you will not be participating in the Yizkor Book this year, please fill in the names and dates (i.e., the Jewish month and day, or the secular calendar date and time of death) for which you would like to be reminded, and return the enclosed form to the Shul office.

The Yizkor Committee
Order a Memorial for our Yizkor Book
Join Here
Join Young Israel of Phoenix
Pay Online
Short Membership Renewal Form
Copyright © 2019 Young Israel of Phoenix, All rights reserved. 

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Young Israel of Phoenix · 6232 North 7th Street · Suite 107 · Phoenix, AZ 85014 · USA

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