611By Rabbi Jack Abramowitz
Before he died, Moshe blessed the Tribes. God appeared to the nation at Sinai, he said, and gave them the Torah of fire. He loves the Tribes and they are in His metaphorical hand, following in His ways and keeping His word. Moshe delivered the Torah to Israel; it is their heritage. God will be recognized as King of the upright nation when their leaders gather the Tribes in unity. Moshe blessed the Tribe of Reuben, Yaakov’s first-born, that they should live and grow.
He blessed Judah that God should hear their voice. God should enable them to defeat their enemies.
Verse 4 contains the famous phrase “Torah tziva lanu Moshe,” “Moshe commanded us the Torah.” The Talmud in Makkos 24a points out that the gematria (numerical value) of the word Torah is 611. There are 613 commandments. As we said in our synopses of the sixth and seventh aliyos of parshas Yisro, God spoke the first two commandments to Israel directly. Accordingly, God personally commanded us two mitzvos and Moshe commanded us 611 on God’s behalf.