Parshas Devarim-Summary of the Parsha

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Parshas Devarim

Pesukim: 105 [Siman:מלכיה ]

Haftorah: Yeshayahu 1:1-27

Number of Mitzvos:

There are a total of Two Mitzvos in Parshas Devarim; Zero positive commands and Two negative commands. The following are the commands in the order listed by the Sefer Hachinuch.

 

A. Negative:

1. Mitzvah 414/Negative 242: Not to appoint judges who are not knowledgeable in Torah law.

2. Mitzvah 415/Negative 243: The prohibition for the judges to fear anyone in their verdict.

 

Rishon

  1. Moshe recounts the past occurrences since Matan Torah:
  • The date: The following are the words that Moshe spoke to all the Jewish people, across the Jordan, an eleven-day journey from Chorev. This was said on the first day of the 11th month [Shevat], in the 40th year, after conquering Sichon and Og. Moshe began clarifying the Torah saying:
  • Traveling from Sinai: Hashem spoke to us, saying that we have sat enough time by the mountain and we should travel to the Emorite mountains, to the land of Canaan. “I have given you the land, go conquer the land that I promised to your forefathers.” Moshe told Bnei Yisrael at that time that he could not carry their governance alone, being that Hashem has made them into a multitude.
  • Moshe’s blessing: Moshe blessed Bnei Yisrael “May Hashem the G-d of your fathers add to you a thousand-fold and bless you [to be fruitful and multiply].

Sheiyni[1]

  • Appointing judges: Moshe stated “How can I carry alone all of your disputes? Bring judges of proper wisdom and quality and appoint them to be your leaders.” Bnei Yisrael consented to Moshe’s request and Moshe appointed the tribal leaders as judges to arbitrate the disputes between one man and another. Moshe instructed the judges to judge properly and not show favoritism in judgment or fear any man. All cases that are beyond the scope of the judge’s ability to arbitrate are to be brought to Moshe. Bnei Yisroel were commanded at that time all the laws [of judgment].
  • Traveling from Choreiv: Bnei Yisrael traveled from Chorev until Kadeish Barnea and the Emorite mountain and I then told you that Hashem has given you the land, go and inherit the land of Israel.

 

Shelishi

  • The incident of the spies: [After telling you to go conquer the land] you then all came to me and asked me to send spies to the land. I agreed and appointed 12 people from amongst you to be part of the delegation, one person per tribe. They returned with the fruits of the land and reported that the land is good, and you, the nation, did not desire to ascend it and you rebelled against Hashem. You slandered against Hashem saying that He took you out of Egypt in order to have you annihilated by the Emorites. Your hearts were melted after hearing the reports that the land contains a strong nation, giants and fortified cities. I, however, told you not to fear them or worry as Hashem will lead you and fight for you just as He did in Egypt, and as He has done for you thus far in the desert. Yet, you did not believe in Hashem’s ability and He became angry with you and swore that none of you would ever see the land and only Kaleiv Ben Yefuneh would see it. Also with me Hashem became angry because of you, and He said I would not enter the land. Yehoshua Ben nun will now lead you and you shall strengthen him, as he will conquer the land for you.

 

Revi’i

  • The aftermath of the spy incident and the failed battle: Your children who you said would become spoils of the enemy will inherit the land, and now you should turn around and return to the desert towards the reed sea. You then regretted what you did and had a change of heart to gather an army and go fight to conquer the land. However, Hashem warned me that it is too late, and He will not assist you, and hence you should desist from going. I tried convincing you, but yet, here too you did not listen to the word of G-d and ascended to wage battle against them. They destroyed you and chased you like bees and you sat and cried before Hashem but He refused to listen to you. You therefore sat in Kadeish for many days [for a total of 19 years]. We then traveled to Mount Seir and went around it for many days.

 

Chamishi

  • Moshe recounts passing the borders of Eisav: Hashem said to me that we have spent enough time circling the mountain and we should travel towards north. We were warned by Hashem that while traveling through the border of Eisav we are to take great heed not to instigate them, as we will not inherit even one parcel of their land. We shall buy food and water from them.
  • Moshe recounts passing the borders of Moav: So, we passed the border of Eisav and traveled towards the desert of Moav. Hashem warned us not to oppress Moav or instigate them into war, as their land will not be given to us as an inheritance. We were then instructed to travel across Nachal Zared. It took us 38 years to travel from Kadeish until crossing Nachal Zared, by which time the entire generation had already passed away.
  • Moshe recounts passing the borders of Ammon: Hashem told us that we will be passing the border of Moav and arrive by the nation of Ammon. Hashem warned us not to oppress or instigate them, as it will not be given to us as an inheritance.
  • Moshe recounts passing the border of Sichon: Hashem told us to go travel past Nachal Arnon and instigate a war with Sichon the Emorite king, as he will be handed into our hands. I sent envoys to Sichon with a peaceful message saying that we request to pass though his land, and we will go through the kings road and not swerve right or left. We will purchase food and drink from you, just as was done when we passed the land of Seir and Moav. However, Sichon refused our entry due to Hashem hardening his heart so he be handed over to us.

 

Shishi

  • Moshe recounts the conquering of Sichon: Hashem told me that He has begun handing over Sichon and his land to us, and so it was that Sichon confronted us in battle and we smote them with G-d’s help. We captured all of the cities, women and children and left no survivors. We took only the animals and possessions of the city as booty.
  • Moshe recounts conquering Og: We turned and traveled towards the Bashan, and Og the king of Bashan confronted us in battle with his entire nation. Hashem told me not to fear him, as He has handed him into our hands just as he did with Sichon. And so it was that Hashem handed to us Og and his entire nation, we left no survivers. We captured all of his cities, sixty in total. The cities were fortified with high walls. We destroyed every city and all its inhabitants, men, women, and children. The animals and its possessions we took as spoil. Og was a giant who came from the Refaim. He was nine Amos tall and four Amos wide.
  • Moshe recounts the distribution of land to the tribes of Reuvein, Gad and half of Menasheh: I gave the land of Sichon to Reuvein and Gad, while the land of Og was given to half the tribe of Menasheh. Yair the son of Menasheh captured the region of the Refaim.

 

Shevi’i

  • Machir was given the Gilad, while Reuvein and Gad were given the entire region of the Jordon river, the Kineret and dead sea.
  • The condition for Reuvein, Gad and Menasheh to join the battle: I instructed you [the tribes who settled past the Jordon] to join the battle together with the rest of Israel, and to leave your wives, children, and cattle in the cities. Once the Jewish people have crossed the Jordon, and conquered and settled the land, then you may return.
  • I commanded Yehoshua that he should look and see all that Hashem has done to these two kings, and that so would be done to all the kings across [the Jordon]. You shall not fear, as Hashem will be with you and wage war for you.

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[1] Some begin Sheiyni prior to Moshe’s blessing. This is done in order to avoid beginning the Aliya with a negative verse of Eicha. [See Sefer Haminhagim p. 61; Luach Kolel Chabad; Hiskashrus]

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