top of page
Single Post: Blog_Single_Post_Widget

Parsha Devarim

This is a very powerful Parsha as I was sitting in 770 studying this Prasha with someone and I was left absolutely dumbfounded when I heard him teaching me a Sicha of the last Lubavitcher Rebbe. I will get into that but only after first going through some Rashi, Baal Haturim, and Rebbe Nachum on the Torah. It always brings me great joy and encouragement that many of my ideas about my Rebbe have been understood by many in the larger Jewish community. I hope if you are a believer in Yeshua but silently, that these blogs can further strengthen your faith, and be a ray of hope in the midst of a very lonely place until a community of people like you can exist. Let's get into the Parsha.

First Rashi has some things to say about two parts of the Parsha that have quite a lot of interesting insights into Moshiach and the times of Moshiach. Rashi states "I said to you at that time saying. What is the implication of the word saying? Moses said to them, it is not on my own that i tell this to you but it is the mouth of the Holy One, Blessed is He." and also on the same Pasuk "I cannot alone. etc. Is it possible that Moses was not able to judge Israel? the man who took them out of Egypt, and parted the sea for them and brought down the manna, and made the pheasants fly to them, and was not able to judge them? But rather he said to them as follows: Hashem your G-d, has increased you that is, he has made you great, and raised you over your judges. He has taken the punishment from you and put it on the judges.....I as a Jewish judge, on the other hand If I made someone liable to pay money unjustly, my life is demanded of me. as it says he takes the lives of those who steal from them" Related to this is the fact that the Talmud speaks of the carrying of this judgement specifically of Israel for the Nations in Isaiah 53, and of the idea that through that suffering it brings atonement. The gentiles receive this benefit today. Moses here though is speaking of carrying them alone and says that he cannot but wished to.

This is the teaching we have learned in Brachot "So too, Rava said that Rav Seḥora said that Rav Huna said: Anyone in whom the Holy One, Blessed be He, delights, He oppresses him with suffering, as it is stated: “Yet in whom the Lord delights, He oppresses him with disease; to see if his soul would offer itself in guilt, that he might see his children, lengthen his days, and that the desire of the Lord might prosper by his hand” (Isaiah 53:10). This verse illustrates that in whomever God delights, he afflicts with illness.

יכול אפילו לא קבלם מאהבה תלמוד לומר אם תשים אשם נפשו מה אשם לדעת אף יסורין לדעת

I might have thought that God delights in him even if he does not accept his suffering with love. Therefore the verse teaches: “If his soul would offer itself in guilt.” Just as a guilt-offering is brought knowingly, as it is one of the sacrifices offered willingly, without coercion, so too his suffering must be accepted knowingly.

ואם קבלם מה שכרו יראה זרע יאריך ימים ולא עוד אלא שתלמודו מתקיים בידו שנאמר וחפץ ה׳ בידו


And if one accepts that suffering with love, what is his reward? As the second part of the verse states: “That he might see his children, lengthen his days.” Moreover, in addition to these earthly rewards, his Torah study will endureand his Torah study will be successful, as it is stated: “The purpose of the Lord,” the Torah, the revelation of God’s will, “might prosper by his hand.”

פליגי בה רבי יעקב בר אידי ורבי אחא בר חנינא חד אמר אלו הם יסורין של אהבה כל שאין בהן בטול תורה שנאמר אשרי הגבר אשר תיסרנו יה ומתורתך תלמדנו

With regard to the acceptance of affliction with love and what exactly this entails, Rabbi Ya’akov bar Idi and Rabbi Aḥa bar Ḥanina disagree. One of them said: Afflictions of love are any that do not cause dereliction in the study of Torah, i.e., any which do not afflict his body to the extent that he is unable to study Torah, as it is stated: “Happy is the man whom You afflict, Lord, and teach from Your Torah.” Afflictions of love are when You “teach from Your Torah.”

וחד אמר אלו הן יסורין של אהבה כל שאין בהן בטול תפלה שנאמר ברוך אלהים אשר לא הסיר תפלתי וחסדו מאתי

And one said: Afflictions of love are any that do not cause dereliction in the recitation of prayer, as it is stated: “Blessed is God Who did not turn away my prayer” (Psalms 66:20). Despite his suffering, the afflicted is still capable of praying to God.

אמר להו רבי אבא בריה דרבי חייא בר אבא הכי אמר רבי חייא בר אבא אמר רבי יוחנן אלו ואלו יסורין של אהבה הן שנאמר כי את אשר יאהב ה׳ יוכיח

Rabbi Abba, son of Rabbi Ḥiyya bar Abba, said: My father, Rabbi Ḥiyya bar Abba, said that Rabbi Yoḥanan said as follows: Both, even afflictions that cause dereliction in the study of Torah and those that cause dereliction in the recitation of prayer, are afflictions of love, as with regard to one who suffers without transgression it is stated: “For whom He loves, He rebukes,” and inability to study Torah and to pray are among his afflictions.

אלא מה תלמוד לומר ומתורתך תלמדנו אל תקרי תלמדנו אלא תלמדנו דבר זה מתורתך תלמדנו

What then, is the meaning when the verse states: “And teach him from Your Torah”? Do not read and teach to mean and teach him, rather, and teach us. You teach us the value of this affliction from Your Torah.

קל וחומר משן ועין מה שן ועין שהן אחד מאבריו של אדם עבד יוצא בהן לחרות יסורין שממרקין כל גופו של אדם על אחת כמה וכמה

This is taught through an a fortiori inference from the law concerning the tooth and eye of a slave: The tooth and eye are each a single limb of a person and if his master damages either, the slave thereby obtains his freedom; suffering that cleanses a person’s entire body all the more so that one attains freedom, atonement, from his sins.”

We also know that Moshaich is a judge of Israel for it says of him in the Talmud Sanhedrin 93b “The Messiah was blessed with six virtues, as it is written: “And the spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord” (Isaiah 11:2); and it is written: “And his delight [vahariḥo] shall be the fear of the Lord, and he shall neither judge after the sight of his eyes, nor decide after the hearing of his ears” (Isaiah 11:3).

אמר רבי אלכסנדרי מלמד שהטעינו מצות ויסורין כריחיים רבא אמר דמורח ודאין דכתיב (ישעיהו יא, ג) ולא למראה עיניו ישפוט (ישעיהו יא, ד) ושפט בצדק דלים והוכיח במישור לענוי ארץ

Rabbi Alexandri says that the term hariḥo teaches that God burdened the Messiah with mitzvot and afflictions like millstones [reiḥayim]. Rava saysthat hariḥo teaches that the Messiah will smell [demoraḥ] and then judge on that basis, sensing who is right, as it is written: “And he shall neither judge after the sight of [lemareh] his eyes, nor decide after the hearing of his ears; and with righteousness shall he judge the poor, and decide equity for the meek of the earth” (Isaiah 11:3–4).

So we also see that Messiah will judge, and as a judge like we see in this Passuk, the afflictions meant for the sins of Israel will also be placed on him, and Israel will gain atonement. The gentiles benefit from the unfortunate suffering of Israel, and likewise for Israel it is placed upon Messiah. Moses was to be the final redeemer but Hashem decided to wait till the Messiah who could bear the burden would arrive. Likewise following Messiah is itself filled with a lot of suffering, but gains rewards for those around us.

The next Rashi comes from later in the Parsha on Devarim 2:5 “An Inheritance to Esau “From Abraham. G-d said I gave him ten nations; seven are for you, and the other three the Kenite, Kenizzite and Kadmonite, who are Ammon, Moab, and Seir, one of them Seir is for Esau, and the other two are for the children of Lot for having gone with Abraham to Egypt.”

Rashi here seems to think that Messiah will trample on the descendants of Esau but we will see the Ramban in his commentary on Torah has a disagreement with Rashi on this matter. I would think both are right, there will be a judgment of the descendants of Esau who do not recognize the father Abraham, and also agree with the Ramban on his interpretation for those of Esau who recognize the father Abraham. Here is the Ramban on this same Passuk” Your brethren the children of Esau. The reason for this expression is that descent of Israel is from Abraham and all his seed are thus brothers because they were all circumcised. This is the purport of the verse Thou shall not abhor an Edomite for he is thy Brother. Only the sons of the concubines of Abraham, Ishmael, Midian, and all the children of Keturah are not in this brotherhood. As we see from the verse for in Isaac shall seed be called to thee” (Thus Esau is in the brotherhood for is a son of Isaac, but Ishmael born of Hagar, and Midian born of Keturah, although they are Abraham’s biological sons, are not in this brotherhood. For G-d said to Abraham in Isaac shall seed to thee be called to thee. This makes it clear that the SPIRITUAL BROTHERHOOD of the Abrahamic seed is restricted to the descendants of Isaac.) The Baal Haturim blatantly notes that this Passuk is talking of the time of Moshiach- “A foot sole. This refers to the time their foot will falter. Until the time arrives when a foot will trample it , the feet of a humble man. (Isaiah 26:6) “

Humble man in Zechariah 9:9 is defined there as Messiah according to Rashi.

A little understand of how we see the question of Messiah that often comes up and the Sicha that I told you answered many of my questions I had around the Messiah and finally figured a thought had my heart rest. The first Redeemer will be like the last Redeemer, and so if this of the Rebbe’s Sicha is true of Moshe how much more so of the Moshiach. So I will put part of it here:

The Last Lubavitcher’s Sicha on Devarim that radically changed my thinking on Messiah.

Our Sages state1 that Moshe delivered the Book of Devarim “on his own initiative.” Tosafos adds that he was: “Inspired by ruach hakodesh (the holy spirit)”.

There are many different levels of ruach hakodesh. Nevertheless, with regard to Moshe, the Torah explicitly states: “No prophet like Moshe ever arose within Israel,” indicating that Moshe’s prophecy was on the highest level possible.

For this reason, the Book of Devarim is considered an integral part of the Written Law. The fact that Moshe delivered these teachings “on his own initiative” does not alter the fact that they were granted by G‑d. This is reflected in the Rambam’s ruling that anyone who says that even one word of the Torah was related by Moshe independently is considered to have denied the entire Torah. Certainly, this applies with regard to an entire book of the Torah.

Thus when Moshe delivered the Book of Devarim, G‑dliness united with his being to the extent that “the Divine Presence spoke from Moshe’s throat.”

For this reason, when Moshe says:“I will grant rain.... I will grant grass,” the pronoun refers to G‑d. The Divine Presence was speaking.

Thus the difference between the Book of Devarim and the previous four books of the Torah involves only the method of communication. The previous four books were also conveyed by Moshe; only the two commandments:7 “I am G‑d, your L‑rd....” and “You shall have no other gods...” were heard directly from G‑d. With regard to the other 611 commandments, our Sages apply the verse: “The Torah (תורה, numerically equivalent to 611) which Moshe commanded to us...,” i.e., it was he who communicated them to us. Nevertheless, with regard to the other four books, Moshe was considered an agent,10 while the Book of Devarim was recited “on his own initiative.” In the latter instance, the Divine Presence enclothed itself in his conceptual processes until the two were united in a bond so powerful that “the Divine Presence spoke from [his] throat.”

One last word on this Parsha which I found amazingly interesting regarding the name of Moshiach and with all stated above becomes even more interesting. From Rebbe Nachum on Devarim: The numerical value of the name Yehoshua plus 5 units for each letter in the name equals 396. Similarly the word Mishnah (Oral Law-literally repetition) plus one unit for the entire word equals 396. Joshua the primary student of Moses, signifies the book of Devarim. Which is sometimes called Mishnah Torah since it repeats many of the laws of the Torah. The book of Devarim continually ehorts the Jews to strengthen themselves in G-d’s service not to slacken their devotions. This is the Devotion of Yehoshua: the student. To instill in others the teachings of his master in order to arouse them to serve G-d. -Likutey Halakot III p. 45a-46a.

I would like to note that what Rebbe Nachum says of Yehoshua- which is also the name of our Messiah, to strengthen and not to slacken our devotions to serve Hashem, is what Moshiach teaches as well. Be encouraged and for those who are believers secretly in the orthodox community who may be reading this strengthen yourselves with this please.

bottom of page