Va'etchanan means "and I implored;" and that was what Moses did unto the L-rd as he pleaded to be allowed to go into the Land and see it for himself. But, as you know, that was not to be. Because of his sin, Moses was not allowed to go in. Did he get to heaven? Of that I am sure, but he did not receive his full inheritance that only those who had been careful to do all that G-d required received.
What was the sin that separated Moses from those who went into their promise? Many teach that it was that he struck the rock instead of speaking to it. Let's return to the account of this in Numbers 20. Verses 9 through 12 read: "So Moses took the rod from before the L-rd, just as He had commanded him; and Moses and Aaron gathered the assembly before the rock. And he said to them, " Listen now, you rebels; shall we bring forth water for you out of this rock?" Then Moses lifted up his hand and struck the rock twice with his rod; and water came forth abundantly, and the congregation and their beasts drank. But the L-rd said to Moses and Aaron, " Because you have not believed Me, to treat Me as holy in the sight of the sons of Israel, therefore you shall not bring this assembly into the land which I have given them." Look at the accusation of the L-rd. He does not condemn Moses for striking the rock, but for not treating G-d holy. The sin of Moses was not an action at all; it was an attitude. He said to the people, "Must we bring forth water out of this rock." Moses stood in the place of G-d.
Often men of G-d are tempted to take the credit for the work of the Holy Spirit and when they do, they forfeit their full inheritance. Years ago, I heard James Robinson warn that servants of G-d must never touch the gold, the glory or the girls! Moses touched the glory of G-d and he suffered separation from his people for it. But, G-d did not condemn him to hell, only to go to heaven sooner than the others and to suffer in this life more.
This portion recounts the Ten Commandments and more of Moses recollection of the journey that was now ending. It is a good thing to remember where you have been. It will help prevent you from going in the same way of error and guide you in the way you should go. And, in Deuteronomy 6: 20-25, the people are instructed to teach their children their heritage. Most Christian children today cannot even tell you the name of their great great grandparents. Jewish children can often recite their ancestors for eight or ten generations. From generation to generation, we must instruct our children in the way we have gone and guide them in the way they should go so that they too may receive their full inheritance.
But on this Shabbat, the Sabbath following Tisha B'Av of 2007, the Torah portion is eclipsed by the reading from the Haftorah, the Prophets. In fact, this Shabbat is named for this special reading from Isaiah 40:1-26. The name of the portion, and of the Shabbat is from the first word, Nachamu, which is Hebrew for "comfort." How appropriate this is, especially today, when the nation of Israel needs comfort like never before. To easily read this portion, just click this link and you will be there.