Dvarim (Words)

Deuteronomy 1:1 These are the words which Moses spoke to all Israel on this side of the Jordan in the wilderness, in the plain across from the Red Sea, between Paran and Tophel and Laban and Hazeroth and Dizahab. C-MATS

Question: When does the Book of Deuteronomy take place? The events in the book of Deuteronomy take place within the last two weeks of the 11th month of the 40th year of desert wandering. The 12th month is spent mourning Moses (Deuteronomy 34:8). They will enter the Promised Land on the first day of the 41st year after the Exodus (which took place on the tenth of Nisan (Joshua 4:19).

2 There are eleven days journey from Horeb by way of Mount Seir to Kodesh-barnea. 3 And it came to pass in the fortieth year, in the eleventh month, on the first day of the month, that Moses spoke to the Children of Israel according to all that commanded יהוה אתו him for them;

Question: Moses rebuked the people shortly right before he died. From whom did he learn [to do] this? From Jacob, who rebuked his sons only a short while before his death. Joshua rebuked Israel only shortly before his death, and Samuel, as it is said, “Behold, testify against me” (I Sam. 12:3) and also, David rebuked his son Solomon only shortly before his death (see I Kings 2:1-10).

Question: What do we do if we have no choice but to say something that could potentially hurt someone’s feelings, for example, if a certain friend invites us over and we just don’t want to go? There are two parts to anything we say: what we say and how we say it. There can be times when we have no choice but to say something that will be unpleasant for someone to hear. Still, even then, we can choose to speak with tact, and in a positive and considerate way. Often people appreciate this and react much better than they might otherwise.

Question: Embarrassing someone is like killing him. Why do you think this is so? A sense of dignity is very important for most human beings. When we embarrass another person, it is as if we robbed that person of his or her humanity. For the moment, the person wishes he didn’t exist. The Torah wants to teach us to take the feelings of others very, very seriously. If we are careful with this, we will be giving those around us a gift as precious as life itself.

Question: Moses spoke to the Israelites with love. Just as a pool of water reflects that which approaches it, so too do two hearts reflect one another. יהוה has made human nature such that people automatically tend to feel about us the way we feel toward them. If we’re loving, they will be too. If we feel hostile, we are likely to get the same reaction. We can save ourselves from dangerous people by working up such love for them in our hearts that the other just couldn’t hurt us.

Question: Should we treat all people equally? Malachi 2:10 Have we not all one father? Has not one Elohim created us? Why do we deal treacherously every man against his brother, profaning the covenant of our fathers? C-MATS