Torah.org Home Subscribe Services Support Us
 
haaros

The Savannah Kollel

Insights Vol. 8 # 39

The Book of Devarim (Deuteronomy)

           The fifth, final book of the Torah is clearly much different than the other four books, as Ramban (Nachmanides) points out in his introduction to the Torah. Throughout the Torah, Moshe speaks in the third person; even when mentioning his own birth and events, he does not use the first person: "I." However, the final book is largely expressed in first person: "I commanded the judges at that time..." (Chap.1 verse 16).

           Devarim is the record of an oral discussion. Shortly before he passed away, Moshe repeated the Torah to the new generation. Thus, its content is entirely different. "These are the words which Moshe spoke to the children of Israel..." (Chap.1 verse 1) is the beginning, rather than "G-d spoke to Moshe saying..." (found throughout the first four books). These were Moshe's words. See the Ohr Hachayim.

           The Malbim explains that Moshe chose the words to speak; G-d later commanded him to say the same words in the order which G-d chose, and then to write these words exactly -- again, in the order in which G-d chose. Thus, every word of the Torah is G-d's word, although Moshe originally said the last book on his own.

Moshe Was Not Forgiven -- On Account of the People

          We know that Moshe was not allowed to enter the Land, because of the incident that occurred at Mei Merivah. Why could he not atone for the error?

          In chapter 1, verse 37, Moshe indicates that G-d was angry at him because of the people. In next week's parsha, V'eschanan 3:23-26, Moshe relates that he prayed vigorously, but G-d refused to pardon him -- again, due to the people. Why could Moshe not be forgiven?

No Atonement for Chilul Hashem

           There are a variety of explanations regarding the actual error which Moshe made. Regardless of the explanation, the Torah insists that it entailed a "Chilul Hashem," (profaning G-d's name, see Bamidbar 20:12). The general rule is that atonement for Chilul Hashem can only be achieved with one's death. See tractate Yoma and the Laws of Yom Kippur.

          Nonetheless, the Talmud in tractate Rosh Hashanah maintains that even the "Chilul Hashem" can be forgiven in one's lifetime. Torah study and acts of kindness are examples of special mitzvos which can obtain atonement even for extreme cases.

The Power of Prayer

          The Jerusalem Talmud includes tefilah -- prayer -- as a mitzva with the ability to procure atonement for Chilul Hashem. (The Asarah Ma'amoros claims that the prayer referred to is specifically the "tachanun" tefilah.)  In this case, our question returns. Moshe prayed hundreds of special tefilos to be forgiven, as is related in the beginning of next week's parsha. (The "tachanun" prayer, too, is actually derived from Moshe's actions in parshas Korach.)

           In Devarim 4:21, it is mentioned that G-d swore that Moshe would not enter the Land. A decree enjoined with an oath is not to be relinquished (Talmud). Why was G-d so angered so as to guarantee that Moshe could not be forgiven? Every "Chilul Hashem" is not accompanied by such an oath!

           See the entire discussion there, in verses 21-23: "G-d was angry with me because of your words, and He swore that I not cross the Jordan... I am to die... be careful lest you forget the covenant with G-d... and make an image..." Rav Chavel quotes a commentary that Moshe could not be allowed into the Land under any circumstance -- for there was sufficient reason to believe that Moshe would become so honored that the people would worship him!

(c) Rabbi Yaakov Bernstein and Genesis, '97


 






ARTICLES ON NOACH:

View Complete List

Constant Taking is Self Destructing
Rabbi Dovid Green - 5759

Why We Keep Sinning
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5774

Compounded Interest
Rabbi Mordechai Kamenetzky - 5761

ArtScroll

Noach Did Not Become Wicked, He Just Became Plain
- 5768

The Excitement of Every Day
Shlomo Katz - 5775

Sins Committed In Private Ultimately Lead To a Violent Society
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5765

Frumster - Orthodox Jewish Dating

Saved From a Rainy Day
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5758

Home Alone
Rabbi Mordechai Kamenetzky - 5756

Making Something of Nothing
Rabbi Shlomo Jarcaig - 5764

Looking for a Chavrusah?

Improving Our Own World
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5760

Drowning in a Lack of Heaven
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5775

Perceptions - Noach
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5769

> Make it a Habit
Shlomo Katz - 5774

Parshas Noach
Shlomo Katz - 5772

Resilience is Key
Rabbi Berel Wein - 5767

Immorality Around Us
Shlomo Katz - 5759



Project Genesis

Torah.org Home


Torah Portion

Jewish Law

Ethics

Texts

Learn the Basics

Seasons

Features

TORAHAUDIO

Ask The Rabbi

Knowledge Base




Help

About Us

Contact Us



Free Book on Geulah!




Torah.org Home
Torah.org HomeCapalon.com Copyright Information