Weekly Drash - Devarim
Compliments of First Fruits of Zion
These are the Words
Devarim - דברים : "Words"
Thought for the Week:
Ben Bag Bag says, “Turn it over, turn it over again, for everything is within it. Look into it and become gray haired and old in it.” (m.Avot 5:22)
The book of Deuteronomy begins saying, “These are the words which Moses spoke to all Israel…” (Deuteronomy 1:1) The Hebrew for “words” is devarim (דברים), hence the traditional Hebrew name of the book. The words of Deuteronomy are, in many ways, simply Moses’ recapitulation of the Torah, hence the common name Deuteronomy, which derives from the Greek words for repetition of the law.
A famous rebbe once stated that the opening phrase of the parashah, “These are the words which Moses spoke to all Israel,” is meant to teach that words of Torah should always be regarded as something new and exciting. “They should be new in your eyes every day,” says Rashi.1 This means that one should never consider himself to be beyond learning Torah. If the Torah is really the words of the living God, then it continues to impart revelation regardless of how many times a person has read it. It is always new. So it is when Moses recapitulated the Torah in the words of Deuteronomy, it was the same Torah, and yet it was also new and fresh.
Yeshua is the prophet like Moses. He is also the teacher like Moses. When Yeshua taught Torah, He did so effortlessly. Torah rolled out of Him. Yeshua taught Torah so naturally that Bible readers unfamiliar with the Torah scarcely ever realize that He was doing it. He never formally announced to His disciples, “Gather around, we are going to learn some Torah now.” Instead, all of His words and teachings were pure Torah, insights into Torah, interpretations on Torah and implications of Torah. It was the same Torah Moses received at Sinai and spoke at the Jordan, but it was ever new in the mouth of the Master. The words of Yeshua are pure Torah, like the words of Moses beside the Jordan. They are the words of life, living water springing forth. Turn them over and turn them over again. Everything is in them.
Yeshua’s disciples knew the Torah, too. They had grown up with the Torah. Yet they did not always see it as He saw it. It was not always new in their eyes every day. After His resurrection, “He opened their minds to understand the Scriptures.” (Luke 24:45)
The Spirit of Yeshua is still with His disciples. He still opens our minds and makes the Torah new in our eyes. He told His disciples, “Every scribe [of Torah] who has become a disciple of the kingdom of heaven is like a head of a household, who brings out of his treasure things new and old.” (Matthew 13:52)
1. Rashi on Deuteronomy 26:16.
Shavuah Tov! Have a Good Week!
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