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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"You responded by acknowledging, 'We have sinned against God so we will go and fight as God commanded us.' But God said, 'Do not fight, because I am not in your midst.' But you went anyway and the Amorites who dwelled upon that mountain came out to meet you, and pursued you as bees do and struck you to the point of crushing you. You returned and wept before God, but God did not listen to your voice. And you remained then in Kadesh.

"We then turned and journeyed into the wilderness again as God had spoken. Each time God instructed us on whether the people of the land would allow us to pass peacefully or whether war would be necessary."

In detail, Moses remembers aloud to the Israelites each of these journeys and battles. "In the battles," Moses reminded the Israelites, "when God delivered the people to us, we conquered the cities and all the inhabitants were killed and the livestock and land and possessions taken as booty. We took many cities, conquered many kingdoms, and took much booty. This conquered land and possessions were then apportioned according to tribes, according to their inheritance.

"Now you are ready, with Joshua as your commander, to enter and possess the land that God gives you. Your eyes have seen everything that God has done to your enemies. So God will do to your enemies in the promised land. So have no fear, for God fights for you when it is time to fight."

Questions For Discussion

1) Why would God want children "who have no knowledge of good and evil" to inherit the promised land? Is ignorance better than knowledge? Is knowledge of good and evil necessary to make good choices? Why or why not?

2) God tells the Israelites when God will fight for them and when God will not fight for them. What does mean to say that God fights for the Israelites? Do you think God still fights for the Jewish people?

3) Can you tell when God is fighting for you and when God is not fighting for you? How?

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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.