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5 Facts About Parshat Devarim that You (Maybe) Didn’t Know

Published on Thursday September 16th, 2021

Discover and learn every week, "5 Facts" written on the weekly Parshah that you can share at your Shabbos table.


אֵ֣לֶּה הַדְּבָרִ֗ים אֲשֶׁ֨ר דִּבֶּ֤ר מֹשֶׁה֙ אֶל־כָּל־יִשְׂרָאֵ֔ל בְּעֵ֖בֶר הַיַּרְדֵּ֑ן בַּמִּדְבָּ֡ר בָּֽעֲרָבָה֩ מ֨וֹל ס֜וּף בֵּֽין־פָּארָ֧ן וּבֵֽין־תֹּ֛פֶל וְלָבָ֥ן וַחֲצֵרֹ֖ת וְדִ֥י זָהָֽב׃ (1:1)

These are the words that Moses addressed to all Israel on the other side of the Jordan.—Through the wilderness, in the Arabah near Suph, between Paran and Tophel, Laban, Hazeroth, and Di-zahab.

1.     How did the Jews learn Torah while in the desert?

  • The following is how the Jews would learn Torah while in the desert: Moshe would enter his tent followed by Aharon. Moshe would then recite a verse that  had been revealed to him, comment on it, and explain it.  Aaron would then position himself on Moshe’s right side and Elazar and Itamar (Aaron’s sons) would then be taught the verse  in the same manner. Then the 70 elders would enter and Moshe would teach it to them.  Lastly, the Bnei Yisrael would be taught the verse.  They would hear it 4 times and then gather into  small groups to review it. Someone would be chosen to write the teaching  on small parchments and emissaries would be sent to teach the entire nation until they knew it  by heart. (Rambam Mishnah Intro. based on Eruvin 54 and Sifri Vayikra 25:1)

2.     How long did it take to give over the Book of Devarim?

  • It seems that the entire book of Devarim was given in 5-6 weeks since we know that Moshe died on the 7th of Adar. (Rashi, Onkelos, Kiddushin 38a, Sifri)


בְּעֵ֥בֶר הַיַּרְדֵּ֖ן בְּאֶ֣רֶץ מוֹאָ֑ב הוֹאִ֣יל מֹשֶׁ֔ה בֵּאֵ֛ר אֶת־הַתּוֹרָ֥ה הַזֹּ֖את לֵאמֹֽר׃ (1:5)

On the other side of the Jordan, in the land of Moab, Moses undertook to expound this Teaching. He said:

3.     In what language did Moshe give the over the Torah?

  • Moshe  explained the Torah  in 70 languages. (Rashi, Tanchuma 2)


רְאֵ֛ה נָתַ֥תִּי לִפְנֵיכֶ֖ם אֶת־הָאָ֑רֶץ בֹּ֚אוּ וּרְשׁ֣וּ אֶת־הָאָ֔רֶץ אֲשֶׁ֣ר נִשְׁבַּ֣ע יְ֠הוָה לַאֲבֹ֨תֵיכֶ֜ם לְאַבְרָהָ֨ם לְיִצְחָ֤ק וּֽלְיַעֲקֹב֙ לָתֵ֣ת לָהֶ֔ם וּלְזַרְעָ֖ם אַחֲרֵיהֶֽם׃ (1:8)

See, I place the land at your disposal. Go, take possession of the land that the LORD swore to your fathers, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, to assign to them and to their heirs after them.

4.     Is there an allusion to the concept of resurrection in the Torah?

  • Yes. This is one of the allusions in the Torah to the resurrection of the dead since the verse says that the land will be given “to them”. (Sanhedrin)


הַיּ֣וֹם הַזֶּ֗ה אָחֵל֙ תֵּ֤ת פַּחְדְּךָ֙ וְיִרְאָ֣תְךָ֔ עַל־פְּנֵי֙ הָֽעַמִּ֔ים תַּ֖חַת כָּל־הַשָּׁמָ֑יִם אֲשֶׁ֤ר יִשְׁמְעוּן֙ שִׁמְעֲךָ֔ וְרָגְז֥וּ וְחָל֖וּ מִפָּנֶֽיךָ׃ (2:25)

This day I begin to put the dread and fear of you upon the peoples everywhere under heaven, so that they shall tremble and quake because of you whenever they hear you mentioned.

5.     What report had they heard that frightened them?

  • What they heard was the report that the sun and moon had stood still and ceased from speaking (their) song during a day and a half, standing still in their place until they had done battle with Sichon. (Targum Yonathan)
Eytan Yéhouda DZIKOWSKI - © Torah-Box Account

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