This week in Torah

Parashah 44-Devarim

July 21, 2018 – Devarim (hadevarim”the words”) – Parshat 44

  • Torah: Deuteronomy 1:1 – 3:22
  • Haftara: Isaiah 1:1-27
  • Brit Chadasha: Matthew 24:1-22

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

Eleh hadevarim asher diber Moshe el-kol-Yisra’el be’ever haYarden bamidbar ba’Aravah mol Suf beyn-Paran uveyn-Tofel veLavan vaChatserot veDi Zahav.

These are the words that Moses spoke to all Israel on the east bank of the Jordan, in the desert [and] in the Aravah, near Suf, in the vicinity of Paran, Tofel, Lavan, Chatzeroth and Di Zahav.

Each Year, at the time of the beginning of the reading of the book of Devarim (Deuteronomy) we have the Fast for Tisha B’av (the 9th of Av). It looks back to the bad report of the Spies, and the rejection of the Land of promise, but also rebellion against Adonai. Moshe addresses the latter generation prior to His death, and their taking of the land of promise under Yehosuah’s leadership. This generation had been witnesses to the unbelief of their fathers, and the result of their words to Adonai “Would that we had died in the land of Egypt! or would that we had died in this wilderness!”

Moshe Rabbinu reminds them: Devarim 1:25&26 “They took of the fruit of the land in their hands, and brought it down to us, and brought us word again, and said, “It is a good land which the LORD our God gives to us.” Yet you wouldn’t go up, but rebelled against the commandment of the LORD your God:” It is as though Moshe includes them in the offence prophetically seeing their unbelief (nationally) in future generations, and the diaspora as well. (I say nationally because their have always been Yehoshua’s and Caleb’s in their midst’s who are faithful to the promises of YHVH).

“Five events took place for our fathers on the ninth day of Av, (the fifth month) … On the ninth of Av the decree was made against our forefathers that they should not enter the land, the first Temple and the second Temple were destroyed, the city of Betar was taken [during the Bar Kochba revolt] and the city [of Jerusalem] was ploughed [by Hadrian]. (m. Ta’anit 4:6)

Many other calamities have come upon the Jewish nation during the 9th of Av as well as the events noted in the Ta’anit above. But there is a note of comfort and hope to come in the (I believe) near future. The generation that had returned miraculously to the land of Israel, the land of promise, from Babylon, inquired of the prophet Z’charyah (Zechariah) about the fast on the fifth month (Av) since they were no longer in exile and the Temple was being rebuilt.

Zech. 7:1-3 “It happened in the fourth year of king Darius that the word of the LORD came to Zechariah in the fourth day of the ninth month, the month of Chislev. The people of Bethel sent Sharezer and Regem Melech, and their men, to entreat the LORD’s favor, and to speak to the priests of the house of the LORD of Hosts, and to the prophets, saying, “Should I weep in the fifth month, separating myself, as I have done these so many years?”

The prophets reply started with a rebuke, a warning of future scattering (diaspora) and then: Zech 8:2&3 “Thus says the LORD of Hosts: “I am jealous for Zion with great jealousy, and I am jealous for her with great wrath.” Thus says the LORD: “I have returned to Zion, and will dwell in the midst of Jerusalem. Jerusalem shall be called ‘The City of Truth;’ and the mountain of the LORD of Hosts, ‘The Holy Mountain.’”

This time is none other than the day of the LORD, the day of the great ingathering of all Israel, and the day of resurrection of all who died in faith of the promise (Yehoshua’s and Caleb’s). It is the day when the seed of David will sit upon His throne, after putting all His enemy’s under His feet. It is the day of Mashiach Ben David coming to take the shame and persecution away from His people once and for all, and of that day the prophet  Z’charyah said 8:19-23 “Thus says the LORD of Hosts: “The fasts of the fourth fifth, seventh, and tenth months shall be for the house of Judah joy and gladness, and cheerful feasts. Therefore love truth and peace.” Thus says the LORD of Hosts: “Many peoples, and the inhabitants of many cities will yet come; and the inhabitants of one shall go to another, saying, ‘Let us go speedily to entreat the favor of the LORD, and to seek the LORD of Hosts. I will go also.’ Yes, many peoples and strong nations will come to seek the LORD of Hosts in Jerusalem, and to entreat the favor of the LORD.” Thus says the LORD of Hosts: “In those days, ten men will take hold, out of all the languages of the nations, they will take hold of the skirt of him who is a Jew, saying, ‘We will go with you, for we have heard that God is with you.’”

May it be so in our day and in our time Avinu Shabashamyeem our Heavenly Father!

Shalom Mish’pachah from Beth Hallel Lodi