MidrESHET Hayil

Friday, August 5, 2011

Parashat Devarim

Parashat Devarim

Sefer Devarim, also referred to as Mishneh Torah, opens with Moshe Rabbenu’s gentle rebuke of Benei Yisrael and then continues to encapsulate the missvot mentioned in the previous four sefarim of the Torah HaKedosha. Why would HaKadish Barukh Hu commence the final book of the Torah with rebuke? Wouldn’t we be less inclined to take heed to the missvot that follow? What is the purpose of beginning the ‘final statement’ on a rather negative note?
                First, let us examine the nature of Moshe Rabbenu’s criticism of Benei Yisrael. If we look closely, we may realize that a central point in Moshe’s rebuke is the lack of Emunah on Benei Yisrael’s behalf. They wanted to take matters into their own hands instead of allowing HaKadosh Barukh Hu to guide them to their destination just as He promised to Avraham, Yiss’hak and Ya’akob and their offspring to follow. In their skepticism, Benei Yisrael ask Moshe Rabbenu to send spies to scout out the land in order to ensure for themselves that the land would be ready for their arrival. ‘The took in their hands the fruits of the land’ and determined for themselves ‘The land that HaShem our GD gives us is good.’
As if they needed to send spies to prove that.
Even after their own judgment that the land is good, Benei Yisrael still accuse HaShem Yitbarakh of bringing them out to the desert to die because of His hate for them. One must ask, WHERE IS THEIR EMUNAH? They just saw for themselves the bountiful good that HaShem is giving them straight into their hands! But it continues….
Moshe Rabbenu tells them that HaKadosh Barukh Hu has been protecting them all along with miracles, with the Clouds of Glory during the day and the Pillar of Fire at night, He has been carrying them like a father carries his son and yet ‘ainekhem ma’aminim ba’HaShem Elokeikhem’; you are not believing in HaShem your GD. WHERE is their Emunah?
HaKadosh Barukh Hu specifically instructs Benei Yisrael NOT to wage war with the Emori telling them ‘Do not rise and do not fight, because I am not in your midst’. HaShem tells them directly not to go and yet, they do not listen. They think they know best and take matters into their own hands. They fail miserably. Even so, they repeat this episode with Benei Essav. They fail again.
This is why HaShem in His infinite wisdom preludes the missvot in Sefer Devarim with chastise; He wants to tell us that without the proper Emunah, our missvot have no meaning. Sometimes we think we know what is best for us and want to take full control of our lives and destiny. But this is no way to live. Has ve’Halilah we may fail over and over again just like Benei Yisrael did in the midbar. Only after we strengthen our Emunah can we begin to execute the missvot. Only after we understand that HaShem knows best, and it is because of his LOVE for us that he instructs us to follow the missvot are we even deserving to keep them. Sometimes we have to let go in order to be able to latch on to HaShem Yitbarakh. May we all have the koah and Emunah to do so and thus to bring forth the coming of Mashiah Be’meherah Bayamenu, Amen!
Wishing everybody a Shabbat Shalom u’Mevorakh!
Ariella Samimi

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