In the previous parshah, Moses told the people of Israel that keeping to the Torah and mitzvot is the key to conquering the Holy Land and living the good life there  In this week's parshah, Moses teaches about fifty-five mitzvot. Let's explore some of them here:

Destroying Idols

When the Jews come to Israel, they should destroy all the idols that the former inhabitants left behind.

The Temple

They should build a holy temple, called the Beit Hamikdash, where they will serve G‑d and bring sacrifices

Preparing Meat

Animals must be slaughtered in a special way in order to be kosher. Blood is never allowed to be eaten, so meat is salted before cooking.

False Prophets

Anybody who says false prophecies must be put to death. How do we know if he is a false prophet? 1) If he says that he is saying a prophecy from an idol (a false god), or 2) If he says that G‑d told him to tell the Jews that they must violate a certain mitzvah. In both cases, we know immediately that he's making it up and is a false prophet.

Kosher Animals

The signs of kosher animals and fish are repeated here. Do you remember what they are? A kosher animal chews its cud and has split hooves. Kosher fish have fins and scales. Next is a list of the twenty-four non-kosher birds; all other birds are kosher. The final kosher law in this parshah is that milk and meat must not be mixed together.

Tithes and Firstborns

When a farmer grows produce (fruit, grain, or vegetables) he must take a tithe, or a tenth of what he has grown, and eat it in Jerusalem. (In some years, the tithe goes to the poor.) All firstborn  cattle are offered in the Beit Hamikdash and their meat is then eaten by the kohen.


The parshah ends by telling us of the three high points in the Jewish calendar: Passover, Shavuot and Sukkot. During the times of the Beit Hamikdash, all the Jews would go up to Jerusalem during these holidays; that's why they are called the Pilgrimage Festivals. Today, we celebrate Passover by eating matzah, Shavout by hearing the Ten Commandments, and Sukkot by eating in special huts for seven days.