Parashot: “D’varim” (Words); DEUTERONOMY 1:1-3:22
We start the final book of the original 5 books of the Torah, in which Moshe wrote down all the statutes, commandments, precepts, details, etc. that Adonai dictated to him to write. We must remember that Am Israel received the first 10 commandments directly from the mouth of Adonai, written down in stone, and given to the people, as a form of “Ketubah” or “marriage contract. Later, Adonai called Moshe back up to the mountain and there, dictated the rest of Torah, the rest of the 603 commandments which he wrote down on the scrolls.
603 were written down by Moshe, yet dictated by Adonai, and 10 were dictated and written by YHVH himself. All in all, we must conclude that ALL the TORAH comes from YHVH, whether directly or indirectly written. This book of Deuteronomy is the last. Moshe began writing it, and it was probably finished by Yehoshuah (Joshua) or another leader.
The book relates the travels and experiences that “Am Yisrael” took and went through in 40 years’ time. Moshe retells the experience somewhat as a father would relate to his son. Let’s say that father and son travel across the USA for 6 months, then, perhaps 10 years later, the father would remind the son of their trip by remembering their “experiences” “Remember son, the time when we were traveling through Texas and, well, you insisted in exploring that abandoned house, even when I said it would NOT be a good idea…….”
The father tells both the good experiences and the bad experiences, the times when the son obeyed and the times when the son disobeyed. Moshe is doing the same thing. This is similar to last week’s parashah “Masei” (journeys) in which Moshe relates the journeys of Israel.
An interesting midrash is the difference and similarity between two words; “D’varim” (words) and “D’vorim” (bees) One could say that the words that Moshe spoke to the Israelites were like the “stings of bees” and after giving this message, a little later on, Moshe went up Mt. Pisgah a died, just like when a bee stings, it leaves the stinger in the victim and dies.
What can we learn from the beginning of D’varim? Are we mature enough to receive rebuke? From elders? From others who are in authority? When a believer or even a non-believer is rebuked, it is for his or her own good, either to bring that person to the knowledge of Messiah Yeshua or to turn that person from error to walk in harmony with the Torah.
I think that we can ALL relate to the Children of Israel. At one time or another, we have ALL gone astray, doing our own thing, knowing that "this and that" is sinful, yet we go ahead and do it anyway. Maybe it makes us feel good, a moment of pleasure, then the guilt sets in. We need to refer to the 5 words that start with "R": Rebuke, Repent, Return, Renew, Restore.
The Word of God rebukes us with the "Word" itself, sent by the "Living WORD'. This leads us to "repent" and "Return" (Shoov) and thus we make "Teshuvah" which means; "turn around and go the other way, back to God." Then, we have a "renewed relationship" with our creator, and we have "restoration." God rebukes, We repent, We return, God renews our relationship and restores us.
Moshe tells the people the words of Adonai: “YHVH your Elohim spoke to us in Horeb saying “You have dwelt long enough in this mountain…turn you and take your journey…. (1:6)
It seems that “Am Yisrael” were in their “comfort zone”. They were at Mt. Horeb. Perhaps they wanted to stay right there, yet it was NOT the promised land. It was where they received the Torah, it was where they received instruction, but now they have to go to where Adonai wanted them to be.
It is interesting that the word “Horeb” is written without a “vav”. The word “Horeb” in Hebrew has only three letters; “Chet” “Resh” and “Beit”. These are the same letters that spell out the word “Sword” which is “Cherev”. So we have “Chorev” and “Cherev” The only difference is the vowels “o” and “e”. Is there a “Remez” here? A symbolism? The sages say that in a way, Moshe is telling the people; “You have received the Torah at “Chorev” now, continue on towards the Promised Land, the Land of Canaan, and put into practice the Torah. If you disobey, a curse will fall upon you and the “Cherev” (the Sword) will pursue you. So, it is either “Obedience” which you learned from the Torah at “Chorev” …or…the “Cherev” will destroy you for “disobedience”.
Now, the Israelites were right at the border of Moab and Canaan; the Jordan River separated the two nations. It was time to leave their “comfort zone” and “cross over” and conquer the pagan peoples, and lay claim to the land! They had fought giants before, you know, the bigger they are, the harder they fall, especially if Adonai “falls” them.
Remember that it all starts in Egypt (Mitzraim) the land of “restriction”, Moshe leads them out, symbolizing a sort of Messiah, leading them to Mt Sinai, they receive the Torah, for 40 years they undergo instruction, go through both “good times” and “bad times” sometimes, “very bad times” when YHVH chastised and killed many of them for disobedience and rebellion. Yet now, it is time for the promise to be fulfilled, the “Promised Land”
We go through the same thing in our lives. We start out being liberated from our “Egypt” we are liberated from the “lost world and the ways of the lost” by accepting Yeshua as our Messiah and LORD. We grow in faith, in spiritual maturity, or…perhaps fail in our relationship with YHVH, going through valleys and dark places, yet always emerging into the light of Torah again. Sometimes we get comfortable in one place, or doing one thing, yet, God is saying…” turn now and take your journey” or “continue your journey and continue to grow in faith, expose yourself to different “stuff” “situations” yet always trusting in HaShem.