D'varim: A Summary of the Parsha

Moses recounts to the Israelites episodes from the 40 years in the wilderness; he encourages the Israelites in their upcoming conquest of the land of Canaan.

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The following article is reprinted with permission from Jewish Family & Life!

In the 40th year, in the 11th month, on the first day of the month. Moses spoke the following to the Israelites:

"Remember God said, 'I have set this land before you, go in and take possession of the land…' Now God, your God, has multiplied you and you are now like the stars of heaven in multitude. May God add to you another thousand times as many as you are now, and may God bless you.

"I knew I could not alone carry your contentiousness, your burdens, and your quarrels. So I told you to provide for yourselves wise men of your tribes. You agreed to this system of judges as overseers over the tribes and I charged these judges with specific duties.

"I instructed them saying, 'Hear disputes between your brethren and judge righteously between every man and his brother and the one who has come from abroad. You shall not show favoritism in judgment. You must hear the small and the great alike. You have no one to fear for the judgment is God's. When a matter is too difficult for you, you shall bring it to me, and I will hear it.'"

"Then," Moses continued, "we journeyed on through the great and awesome wilderness, coming as far as the Amorite mountain that God, our God, gives us. See, God has set the land before you. Go up, take possession of it, as God, the God of your fathers, has spoken to you. Do not fear and do not be frightened.

"You asked for me to send out spies to investigate the land and so I did, taking twelve men, one from each tribe. They went as far as the Valley of Grapes and brought back good fruits, saying 'Good is the land that God, our God, is giving us.' But you did not want to go up to the land and rebelled against the word of God. You incited one another in your tents and said, 'Because God hates us, God brought us out of the land of Egypt to deliver us into the hands of the Amorites, the hands of giants, in order to destroy us.'

"Then I said to you, 'Do not be dismayed and do not fear them. God will fight for you just as God did right before your eyes in Egypt.' In the wilderness, too, you saw that God carried you just as a man carries his son all the way until you came to this place. Yet, in this matter, you had no trust in God, even as God led us through the wilderness with a fire by night and a cloud by day.

"So God became angry with you and swore that no man among this evil generation would see the good land that God promised to your fathers. Only Caleb, son of Yefunneh and Joshua, son of Nun, shall see it because they have acted faithfully towards God. God said it would be your children, whom have no knowledge of good and evil, who shall inherit this land. But you, you shall wander in the wilderness.

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Nancy Reuben Greenfield

Nancy Reuben Greenfield has written three adaptations of the Torah, including an
interactive family version at www.TiptoeThroughTheTorah.com, and an engaging
Jewish immigrant novel, The Golden Medina, available on itunes and Amazon.