Below is a collection of Parashat Va’et’hanan resources created by The Lookstein Center staff or contributed to the site by Jewish educators.

This is a growing collection. Check back soon or write to us at if you didn’t find what you’re looking for. 


Question #1: The Ten Commandments are repeated in this section and we would expect to read exactly the same words as in Parashat Yitro. Yet, there are differences! The biggest difference is with the commandment of Shabbat – in this version, we are commanded to remember what it was like to be a slave in Egypt. What is the connection between Shabbat and remembering that we were once slaves? 

Look inside the text: (Devarim 5: 14 -15),

 וְיוֹם הַשְּׁבִיעִי שַׁבָּת לַה’ אֱלֹהֶיךָ לֹא תַעֲשֶׂה כָל מְלָאכָה אַתָּה וּבִנְךָ וּבִתֶּךָ וְעַבְדְּךָ וַאֲמָתֶךָ וְשׁוֹרְךָ וַחֲמֹרְךָ וְכָל בְּהֶמְתֶּךָ וְגֵרְךָ אֲשֶׁר בִּשְׁעָרֶיךָ לְמַעַן יָנוּחַ עַבְדְּךָ וַאֲמָתְךָ כָּמוֹךָ:

 וְזָכַרְתָּ כִּי עֶבֶד הָיִיתָ בְּאֶרֶץ מִצְרַיִם וַיֹּצִאֲךָ יְהוָֹה אֱלֹהֶיךָ מִשָּׁם בְּיָד חֲזָקָה וּבִזְרֹעַ נְטוּיָה עַל כֵּן צִוְּךָ יְהוָֹה אֱלֹהֶיךָ לַעֲשׂוֹת אֶת יוֹם הַשַּׁבָּת

But the seventh day is a sabbath of your God; you shall not do any work—you, your son or your daughter, your male or female slave, your ox or your ass, or any of your cattle, or the stranger in your settlements, so that your male and female slave may rest as you do. Remember that you were a slave in the land of Egypt and your God freed you from there with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm; therefore your God has commanded you to observe the sabbath day.

Question #2: Did you ever need a special code in order to get into a house? Sometimes in movies, you’ll see that you need the right knock or words in order to be let in. Does Judaism have a special code or phrase that shows you belong?

In Parshat Ve’et’hanan we read the famous words (Devarim 6:4),

שְׁמַע יִשְׂרָאֵל ה’ אֱלֹקינוּ ה’ אֶחָד – Hear Israel, God is our God, God is One

During many difficult times in Jewish history, this phrase was used to demonstrate that a person is indeed Jewish. Why do you think these words became a “special “code”?

Question #3: One of the core mitzvot emphasized in Sefer Devarim is the command to teach our children. Where is the line between education and indoctrination? To what extent should openness and exploration be part of the educational process, especially if the process is designed to generate commitment and continuity?

Question #4:  Sefer Devarim contains some of the most strident arguments against intermarriage, especially with the seven Canaanite nations. Today that could be labeled as ethnocentric, anti-democratic, discriminatory, or even racist. How do we navigate the tension between the desire for continuity of a tradition with contemporary Western values?