Thursday, October 4, 2012

Themes of Sefer Devarim

       The reason I believe that it is important to work out the themes specifically for this sefer is because while the rest of the Torah was dictated by God, Sefer Devarim was said by Moshe himself. This was his final address, his last chance to give over to Bnei Yisrael before he died, he could have spoken about anything at this point in time. For this reason, and since he was human and would automatically give more importance to certain points (which God is able to avoid), it makes sense that he would pay special attention to certain ideas over others. The point of this list is to try and discover what the main points are in each parshah and what Moshe’s was trying to give over to Bnei Yisrael at the end of his life.

Parshas Devarim- Moshe shows how the Meraglim (spies) were responsible for all the problems (and punishments) which took place in the desert. In general, sin is responsible for all problems in history and this sin accounted for some of the biggest ones including being one of the reasons for the destruction of the Beis Hamikdash (Holy Temple).

Parshas Va’eschanan- Teaches us love of Hashem and the importance of doing mitzvos.

Parshas Eikev- Start to do mitzvos and they will eventually be done out of love of Hashem (which is the main point of doing mitzvos). The parshah revolves around Eretz Yisrael which that is the ultimate reward for doing mitzvos. It also talks about that even after we sin, we must continue to do mitzvos (see Rashi Devarim 11:18) in order that we can continue to receive reward which will result in us returning to Eretz Yisrael. The whole idea is a circle.

Parshas Re’eh- Teaches us, through the mitzvos mentioned in the parshah, to stay separate from the goyim. Some of the mitzvos are obvious, i.e. eat kosher, don’t serve Avoda Zara. But some are more subtle, no bamot (personal alters), do not add on to the mitzvos, etc.
Also, this parshah changed the mitzvos from ideas to reality for Bnei Yisrael. We see this from the pasuk by Ma’aser (14:22-24) which says that eating it in Yerushalayim will teach you Fear of God. You will be eating Maaser in Jerusalem, possibly at the same time as the Festivals where you can observe all the great people there and learn Fear of God. We see how ideas are given to Bnei Yisrael based on the idea that they will actually be in Israel.

Parshas Shoftim- talks about all different types of leaders and what challenges they will face. Murder, false witnesses, rampant Avoda Zara, etc. It also talks about respect the nation should show to them, judges are called “tzedek”, they are righteous people and should be pursued (Devarim 16:20). It says in Sefer Shmuel that the king can do what he wants. The parshah also mentions the gifts that are given the Kohanim from every korban, and that every navi will equal to moshe (even though we know it is impossible for anyone to reach Moshe’s level). But at the end of the day, in my opinion, the parshah shows how hard it will be to be a leader of Bnei Yisrael.

Parshas Ki Teitzei- Moshe gives over the halachos of everyday occurrences (though not necessarily common ones,) that will take place over history. Rashi gives explanations why each set of halachos is written following each other in the pesukim.

Parshas Ki Tavoh- Starts off with mitzvah of Bikkurim, then flows into Bnei Yisrael accepting the yoke of Torah upon themselves (a second time) through the curses.  A huge emphasis is placed on Eretz Yisrael throughout the parshah, as it constantly mentions in the pesukim “the land which God gave to your forefathers” or “to you”.

Parshas Nitzavim- God will continually love you and support you (even with the aveiros [sins] that you do). Moshe teaches the nation the concept of Teshuvah (as a theoretical idea which they will use in the future).

Parshas Vayeilech- Moshe’s speech is over. He goes around Bnei Yisrael and changes Teshuvah from a theoretical concept to a practical one by teaching them why, when, and how they should do it). This parshah really shows us how much we will miss Moshe once he is gone.

Parshas Haazinu- Moshe sings the warning to Bnei Yisrael found at the end of last week’s parshah (31:28-30). Haazinu is the parshiyos from Ki Tavoh through Vayeilech in song form. That’s why it mentions the greatness of Hashem, the history of Bnei Yisrael, the greatness of Eretz Yisrael, the sin of Avoda Zara, and returning to Hashem (Teshuvah). The reason it’s written like this is because there are some things which are expressed better through song. So even though the same concepts are being discussed, they are said differently since the song brings out a deeper element of them.

Parshas Vezos Habracha- Moshe blesses the nation, first each shevet individually, then the nation as a whole. The individual brachos given to each shevet were similar to the brachos given by Yaakov to each one of his sons before he died in Parshas Vayechi. The brachah given to the nation starts in Perek 33 Pasuk 25 and is a blessing for Hashem’s continued protection and that Eretz Yisrael should produce for Bnei Yisrael forever. The last twelve pesukim deal with Moshe’s death, burial, and mourning period.

Have a great Shabbos and Chag Sameach!

To learn more about the Nation's Wisdom project, click here.

Check out the AIMeM blog and Facebook page.


No comments:

Post a Comment