Devarim (5776)

Drash Cards for Devarim (5776)

By Marc Mangel

• I want to continue to investigate the question: why does the Torah not end with BaMidbar.

  • First a comment about names. We call this book Devarim: The book of “these are the words”. The Rabbis often called it Misneh Torah – repetition of the Torah, based on Ch 17 verse 18 [read it – a copy of the teaching] and that is what Rambam called his commentary on the Torah. Philo and the Greeks called it Deuteronomion – second law – from which it is called Deuteronomy by non-Jews. But make no mistake, there is only one law.
  • Second, things have changed between Shemot and Devarim. Moses, the man of few words, now has an entire book!
  • From this we can learn, first act then talk.   Indeed we say ‘actions speak louder than words’ – and there is no better example than Moshe.
  • In the first four books God words were transmitted directly by Moses; here God’s words are transmitted through Moses
  • Moses speaks the words to all of the children of Israel, not some of them. Why?
  • Because this is the generation that will enter the land of Israel. They will change from a nation of nomads sustained by God’s presence and supernatural powers into a nation of farmers working the land and making the abstract teachings in the Torah practical, now with God a hidden partner.
  • The generation of the Exodus saw what God did in Egypt and Sinai. But the next generation only heard God and about what God did.
  • We all know that hearing about something does not give the certainty of seeing it.
  • This generation needs lots of counsel, advice, and exhortation – hence they get an entire book! How much more do we – who neither saw nor heard – need?
  • Third, there are some differences is this repetition and what came before. Pay attention as we read in the follow weeks
  • Homework: in what fundamental theological way do 10 commandments differ between Shemot in Yitro (20:10-11) and Devarim in V’Etchanan (5:12-15)?