Rabbi Finkelstein

FIRST ALIYAH- Moshe, on the last day of his life, blesses the people of Israel, although demonstrably omitting any reference to the tribe of Shimon. Rashi indicates that Moshe does indeed bless Shimon, but not explicitly. Shimon is included in the blessing Moshe gives Judah. The first Aliyah also recounts in a poetic way that G-d approached other nations to see if they would accept the Torah, with all responding in the negative for various cultural reasons. We also read the sentence that is one of the first little children learn: Moshe commanded us the Torah, an inheritance of the community of Jacob.We are also told that Hashem is happy when the people of Israel are united.

SECOND ALIYAH-Moshe continues his series of blessings for each of the tribes, concentrating first on his own tribe, Levi. He extols the virtues of the members of this tribe for having taken on the leadership role in punishing those involved in the worship of the Golden Calf. As the Leviim are occupied with taking care of the sanctuary and later Temple in Jerusalem, Moshe then blesses Benjamin in whose territory the Temple was built. (Rashi)

THIRD ALIYAH- As historically, the territory of Ephraim ben Yosef housed the Mishkan (portable sanctuary) for 310 years, Moshe then addresses Yosef indicating indirectly that the Temple, by definition, is more important than the Mishkan. Moshe describes the agricultural wealth awaiting the future descendants of Joseph, and predicts the victory of two descendants of Joseph, Joshua and Gideon who will defeat their prospective enemies. (Rashi)

FOURTH ALIYAH- Moshe, similar to Jacob at the end of the book of Genesis, praises the relationship between Zebulon and Issachar. The latter is a sea faring tribe which financially supports the members of the tribe of Issachar, whose specialty is the intricacies of the Jewish calendar, and the study of Torah.  Gad is also praised for committing to fulfill its obligation to help the other tribes settle the western side of the Jordan River. (Rashi)

FIFTH ALIYAH- Numerous attributes are stated by Moshe in regard to the tribes mentioned in this Aliyah including Dan, the military prowess of which enables its members to conquer territory from the northwest and northeast of Israel. The agricultural qualities of Asher are praised as well, and Rashi adds that many of the wives of the Kohanim Gedolim came from Asher.

SIXTH ALIYAH- This Aliyah is a reminder to the people of Israel that as they have conquered and defeated world powers such as the Amorite kings. Sihon and Og, so shall they defeat their future enemies.

SEVENTH ALIYAH-We read of the death of Moshe who retained his physical vigour and spirit of mind to the very last second. There is a debate in the Talmud as to whether Moshe wrote about his own death in advance, or that Joshua wrote the last number of verses in the Torah