Devarim – Rishon

Would You Mind Repeating That?

By Rabbi Jack Abramowitz

Sefer Devarim – the Book of Deuteronomy – comprises a series of farewell speeches given by Moshe prior to his death and the Jews’ entry into the land of Israel. The name Deuteronomy comes from the Rabbinic name of the Book, Mishneh Torah, meaning “repetition of the law.” While sefer Devarim does recap many things that came before, it also contains much new material, as we shall see. These laws were given to Moshe at the same time as the others, but they were not recorded in the Written Law until this point.

Moshe spoke to the people on the eastern bank of the Jordan River. It was the first day of the month of Shevat in the fortieth year of the exodus. He reminded the people how God had spoken to them at Sinai and sent them to claim the land that He had promised to their ancestors. Moshe realized that the people were too numerous to lead by himself.

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