Dvarim (Words)

These are the words that Moses spoke

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: Why did Moses mention the numerous place names in this first verse of Deuteronomy? The numerous place names listed here are not landmarks indicating where Moses spoke these words — indeed, some of these places do not even exist as geographical locations. Rather, these are words of rebuke by Moses to the people of Israel. Instead of mentioning their sins outright, he alluded to them with these place names.

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, “Here I am: witness against me before יהוה I Samuel 12:3 and also, David rebuked his son Solomon only shortly before his death. Now the days of David drew near that he should die; and he warned את־ Solomon his son.  I Kings 2:1.  Chumash

Question: Moses rebuked them only when he was close to death in order to avoid rebuking them again and again. How does this agree with the statement that the Torah commandment, (You should rebuke את־ your neighbor. Leviticus 19:17) which means even one hundred times? There are two kinds of rebuke: Direct confrontation: specifying the wrongdoing and admonishing the perpetrator for committing the act. A more subtle method: not mentioning the iniquity directly, but encouraging the person to improve his conduct. The advantage of the latter is that the erring individual is spared embarrassment. However, since Moses’ current rebuke consisted of specifying through veiled references, the sins committed, he waited until immediately before his death, so that his words would be accepted and they would not have to face him constantly and be embarrassed. Chumash Yahusha said, “Moreover if your brother shall trespass against you, go and tell him his fault between you and him alone: if he shall hear you, you have gained your brother. But if he will not hear you, then take with you one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established. And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the assembly: but if he neglects to hear the assembly, let him be unto you as a heathen man and a publican. Matthew 18:15-17

Spiritual Exercise: This week try to be careful not to hurt others or embarrass them. Be careful what you say and how you say it.