Thursday, September 10, 2015

Nitzvaim (standing) and Vayelekh (he went); Deuteronomy / D’varim 29:9 (10) – 31:30

Nitzvaim (standing) and Vayelekh (he went)
Deuteronomy / D’varim 29:9 (10) – 31:30
Parahsah #5 – D’varim 31:7 – 13

“Then Moshe wrote down this Torah and gave it to the cohanim, the descendants of Levi who carried the ark with the covenant of Adonai, and to all the leaders of Yisra’el.”

So, what was it that Moshe wrote down at this place and at this time?  Did he write the whole of the Torah, or did he write an instruction, a Torah if you will, specifically related to what is reported in this portion?

The beginning of this portion commences two verses earlier, and through verses seven and eight we find Moshe calling Y’hoshua, Joshua, to himself in the sight of all the sons of Ya’akov, Jacob – aka Israel.  What was Moshe’s purpose?  This is actually part of the confirming of Joshua as the next leader of the people, he is the heir apparent.  During this meeting Joshua is being told that he is to be strong and courageous because not only will he be entering the land of Promise with the people, but also he will be leading them – quite an awesome responsibility as I see it. 

However, though Joshua is going to be the leader of the people going in, he is not really the leader.  There is One Who will be going before him – Adonai.  Because the Lord is entering before Joshua, because the Lord will neither fail nor abandon Joshua, he should not be afraid or downhearted.  This sounds like very sage and worthy advice from a man who had to put up with much during the past 40 years.  Let us remember that Joshua was Moshe’s number 2 man, seemingly for most of this time period.

Was this the Torah that Moses wrote down – his instructions to Joshua?  Perhaps.  Maybe the “this Torah” in verse 9 refers to what Moses said afterwards, which we find in verses 10 – 13.

As we read in verse 9, Moses wrote down “this Torah” and then it was given to the cohanim (those who carried the ark) as well as the leaders of Israel.  Continuing in the selection it is apparent that Moses is then giving instruction (Torah?) regarding the reading of the Torah, possibly the full Torah, during the festival of Sukkot at the end of every seven years, which would be at the end of the year in which the fields were not worked.

It is likely that the harvest celebrations were still occurring, because HaShem had provided fully for the people in the year previous for both the year that is just coming to an end as well as the year that is about to begin, for they will need to plant crops and will not be receiving an increase until the next harvest.

During this festival, which is a pilgrimage festival requiring all the men to appear in Jerusalem, or Shiloh prior to the establishment of Jerusalem, so that they and their families could hear all the words of the Torah.  In doing this, everyone, even those who had not experienced the past forty years would hear, be taught, and revere HaShem “for as long as you live in the land you are crossing the Yarden to possess.” (CJB)  This would also be true for the foreigners living among them.

I would like to suggest that it is this directive which was the Torah that Moses wrote at this time according to verse 9, for it is the cohanim and the leaders who had the responsibility to see that this was carried out.

Were someone to pose the thought that it was the whole of Torah that was written here, I would not quibble with them, for I also see that as a distinct possibility.  But, and I have not looked for it as of this moment, has not the full Torah already been written down?  Perhaps this is an addendum to be included with it.

I don’t want to give the idea that the Almighty forgot to tell them something; my only thought is that this is the appropriate time for this discussion to take place, and that that is the reason it had not been written down previously.

Food for thought.  Food for discussion.  May He Who is above all, reveal the truth of His Word to all who seek Him diligently.  Shalom.

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