Parshas Vayeilech

Words in bold represent changes to the traditional translation based on the Aramaic translation/commentary attributed to Onkelos the Ger.

Parshas Vayeilech

Chapter 31


1. Moshe went and he spoke these words with all Israel.

2. He said to them, “I am 120 years old today; I am no longer able to go and to come, and Hashem has said to me, ‘You shall not cross this Jordan.’

3. Hashem your God – He will cross before you, He will destroy these nations from before you, and you will inherit them. Yehoshua – he will cross before you, as Hashem has spoken.


4. Hashem will do to them as He did to Sichon and to Og, kings of the Amorites, and to their lands, that He destroyed them.

5. Hashem will deliver them before you, and you shall do to them according to all the commandment that I have commanded you.

6. Be strong and brave, do not fear and do not dread before them, because Hashem your God – His word leads before you.[1] He won’t let you go and He won’t distance you.”[2]


7. Moshe called to Yehoshua. He said to him in the eyes of all Israel, “Be strong and brave, because you will bring this people in to the land that Hashem swore to their fathers to give to them, and you will bestow it to them.

8. And Hashem – He is the One Who leads before you. His word will be with you; He won’t let you go and He won’t distance you. Do not fear and do not be broken!”[3]

9. Moshe wrote (down) this Torah. He gave it to the priests – sons of Levi, who were carrying the ark of Hashem’s covenant – and to all (the) elders of Israel.


10. Moshe commanded them, saying, “At the end of seven years, in the time of the year of release,[4] at the festival of booths,[5]

11. when all Israel comes to appear before Hashem your God in the place that He will choose, you shall read this Torah before[6] all Israel, and cause them to hear it.[7]

12. Assemble the people – the men, and the women, and the children, and your convert who is in your cities – in order that they may hear and in order that they may learn, and they will revere before Hashem your God and observe to perform all the words of this Torah.

13. And their sons, who didn’t know, will hear and learn to revere before Hashem your God all the days that you live on the land that you cross the Jordan there to inherit.


14. Hashem said to Moshe, “Behold, your days draw near to die. Call Yehoshua and stand in the Tent of Meeting, and I will command him.” Moshe and Yehoshua went and stood in the Tent of Meeting.

15. Hashem was revealed[8] in the tent, in a pillar of cloud. The pillar of cloud stood by the entrance of the tent.

16. Hashem said to Moshe, “Behold, you will lie with your fathers. This people will arise and stray after (the) errors of the nations of the land that it enters there among them. They[9] will abandon reverence for Me and change[10] My covenant that I forged with them.

17. My anger will intensify against them on that day. I will distance[11] them and I will remove My presence[12] from them. They will be for plunder,[13] and many evils and troubles will befall[14] them. They will say on that day, ‘Is it not because my God’s presence is not among me (that) these evils have befallen me?”

18. I will surely remove My presence from them on that day, because of all the evil they did when they turned after the errors of the nations.

19. Now, write this praise[15] for yourselves and teach it to the children of Israel. Put it in their mouths, in order that this praise will be a witness before Me among the children of Israel.


20. When I bring them in to the land that I swore to their fathers, (which) generates milk and honey, and they eat, and are satisfied, and delight,[16] and turn after the errors of the nations and serve them, and they incite anger before Me and change My covenant,

21. it will be that many evils and troubles befall them. This praise will answer before it as a witness, because it won’t be forgotten from the mouth of their children. Because their inclination is revealed before Me, what they do today, before I have brought them in to the land that I swore.”

22. Moshe wrote (down) this praise on that day and he taught it to the children of Israel.

23. He (i.e., God) commanded Yehoshua son of Nun; He said, “Be strong and brave, because you will bring the children of Israel to the land that I swore to them, and My word will assist you.”

24. It happened when Moshe finished writing the words of this Torah in a book until they were finished,[17]


25. Moshe commanded the Levites, the ones who carried the ark of Hashem’s covenant, saying,

26. “Take this book of the Torah and place it beside the ark of Hashem your God’s covenant, and it will be there among you as a witness.

27. Because I know your rebelliousness and your stiff-neck. Behold, while I am still alive with you today, you have been rebellious before Hashem – and even (more so) after I die![18]

28. Assemble to me all (the) elders of your tribes and your officers, and I will speak these words before them,[19] and I will call Heaven and Earth as witnesses against them.

29. Because I know that, after I die, you will surely be corrupted and turn from the path that I commanded you. The evil will befall you in the end of days because you did this evil before Hashem,[20] to anger before Him with the deeds of your hands.

30. Moshe spoke the words of this praise until they were finished before the entire community of Israel.[21]

[1] Chumash: “He is the One Who goes with you.”

[2] Rather than “He won’t fail you and He won’t abandon you.”

[3] Rather than “discouraged.”

[4] Hebrew: shemittah.

[5] Onkelos treats the name of the holiday as a common noun, translating it into Aramaic.

[6] Rather than “opposite.”

[7] As opposed to “in their ears.”

[8] Rather than “appeared.”

[9] Onkelos pluralizes most – though not all – references to “the people” in this section.

[10] As opposed to “break.”

[11] Rather than “abandon.”

[12] Onkelos eschews the anthropomorphism inherent in “hide My face.”

[13] Rather than “food” (i.e., prey).

[14] Rather than “find.”

[15] As opposed to “song.”

[16] Rather than “grow fat.”

[17] Rather than “until their end.”

[18] Chumash: “after my death.”

[19] Rather than “in their ears.”

[20] Rather than “in the eyes of Hashem.”

[21] The song/praise is parshas Haazinu, which immediately follows.

© Copyright 2022 Rabbi Jack Abramowitz