Dvarim (Words)

Review of the Torah

Question: Why was Deuteronomy written? Deuteronomy is referred to as Mishneh Torah, which is commonly translated as “Repetition (or Review) of the Torah,” or as “Explanation of the Torah”. These are the final words of Moses emerging from his face to face friendship with יהוה. Moses could not have given this message on the day of their exodus. His knowledge of יהוה had grown with forty years of revelation and dialogue in the desert. Moses is speaking to a new generation and is giving them necessary understanding of their history and how they are to meet the challenges of the future. Once they crossed the Jordan, the people would no longer see יהוה‘s constant Presence and daily miracles, as they had in the Wilderness. They would plow, plant, and harvest. They would establish courts and a government. They would build social relationships and means to provide for and protect the needy and helpless. They would need strong faith and self-discipline to avoid the snares and temptations of their pagan neighbors and false prophets. “Go up and take possession” was the command of יהוה forsaken by their fathers. They slandered יהוה‘s character, saying, “Why is יהוה bringing us into this land to fall by the sword?” They are not to do the same. They are to trust יהוה who goes before them. If they do so, their victory is assured. Moses repeats the history of their journey in the wilderness to insure that the lessons stay fresh in their minds as they face new challenges in the conquest of Canaan.

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 And wept the Children of Israel for אֶת־ Moses in the plains of Moab for thirty days: after this the days of weeping and mourning for Moses ended.) 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 And the people came up out of the Jordan on the tenth day of the first month and encamped in Gilgal, on the east border of Jericho.). Chumash