Parashat Devarim: A Summary
This week we begin the last of the Five Books of Moses, Devarim (“Words”). In English, it is called Deuteronomy (from the Greek meaning “Second Law” – from deuteros “second” + nomos “law” – perhaps because Moses repeats many of the laws of the Torah to prepare the Jewish people for entering and living in the Land of Israel). The Book is the oration of Moses before he died. Moses reviews the history of the 40 years of wandering the desert, reviews the laws of the Torah and gives rebuke so that the Jewish people will learn from their mistakes. Giving reproof right before one dies is often the most effective time to offer advice and correction; people are more inclined to pay attention and to take it to heart.