דברים

This week’s parsha begins the book of Dvarim (Deuteronomy), in which Moshe gives his final address to the Israelites before dying on the cusp of entering Cana’an.  In beginning his speech, Moshe situates himself quite specifically: “Across the Jordan [river] in the land of Moav Moshe began to elucidate this teaching, saying: Hashem our God spoke to us at Chorev [Sinai] saying ‘it has been enough, for you, sitting by this mountain; turn and travel, coming to the mountain of the Emori…” (1:5-7, my translation).  If one were to consider this speech to be Moshe’s final, parting words, one might have expected a broader perspective to the speech, encompassing the greatest miracles Hashem ever wrought on earth – the Exodus and the splitting of the Read Sea.  However, Moshe not only excludes those events, he also only alludes to Revelation on Har Sinai!  This, then, is clearly not going to be a summary of Moshe’s life before he dies, even though Moshe is almost surely aware of this fact.  Rather, this is a preparatory speech given to a generation that was not alive for the Exodus, or the splitting of the Sea, or maybe even for Revelation.  This is a distinctly forward-looking speech, and while it details a lot of the events in the wilderness, Moshe is situating the people as being on the verge of beginning the next major stage as a people, and leaving the past to be dwelt on after he is gone.

Why dwell on the past

When the Land is right here?

Prepare them for it

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