Names of the Parshiot

Question

Were the specific names of the individual parshiot assigned by G-d and told to Moses during the life of Moses? Or were they named as such completely by humans?

2 weeks

Answers

  1. It is a fascinating issue. As far as I am aware there is no definitive indication as to who chose the names of the Torah Portions and at what point in history this naming took place. What is known, however, is that they have been in use for over one thousand years, as they are mentioned by name in the writings of Rav Saadia Gaon.

    Best wishes from the AskTheRabbi.org Team

  2. The rabbi of the congregation I attended yesterday talked about how Vayelech is such an odd name for a parsha. Most parshiot are named after the first word(s) of importance that appear in them. Vayelech simply means “and he went.”

  3. According to the Midrash the word “vayelech” carried with it the connotation of rebuke. What rebuke is Moshe giving to the Jewish Nation on last day of his life? That even on the last day of his life Moshe is still trying to find new Mitzvos to do. And that is the unspoken rebuke – never to give up wanting to grow greater and greater and to climb new heights in the Spiritual Realms. And that, presumably, is why the Parsha is named “Vayelech” – to teach us the same message right before Yom Kippur!

    Best wishes from the AskTheRabbi.org Team