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Parashat Devarim / פרשת דברים

Crop of Testament and Death of Moses by Luca Signorelli


Parashat Devarim is the 44th weekly reading in the annual Torah reading cycle, and the 1st reading of Devarim (“Deuteronomy”). Devarim (דְּבָרִים) means Words and is the second word of the parashah, which records the beginning of the words which Mosheh (Moses) spoke to Yisrael (Israel), to make clear the Torah (Instruction; a.k.a. Law) of HaShem, beyond the Yarden (the Jordan) in the land of Moav (Moab), on the first day of the eleventh month in the fortieth year after the Exodus from Mitzrayim (Egypt).

In Parashat Devarim, Mosheh summarizes events spanning some forty years, beginning at Khorev (Horev) and ending with the defeat of Sikhon, Melekh HaEmori (King of the Amorites), and Og, Melekh HaBashan (King of the Bashan). Mosheh includes an overview of the events which resulted in the initial defeat of Bnei Yisrael (the Children of Yisrael) by the Emori and the subsequent wandering of Bnei Yisrael in the wilderness for forty years until the generation that left Mitzrayim perished.

Mosheh records HaShem’s instruction to not contend with the people of Esav (Esau), the brother of Yisrael, as well as His instruction to not harass nor fight with Moav (Moab) and Amon, the descendants of Lot (Cf. Bereshit / Genesis 19:36-38), the nephew of Avraham (Abraham, Cf. Bereshit 14:12). These peoples received their lands from HaShem having dispossessed the peoples who were living there before them, including various subsets of the giant Refaim peoples. Og alone remained of the Refaim, whose bed was about 13.5′ in length.

Parashat Devarim concludes with Mosheh’s recounting of the defeat of Sikhon and Og, and the subsequent possession of their lands by Reuven (Reuben), Gad, and Menasheh (Manasseh), yet under the condition they fight alongside their brothers until they possess the lands on the other side of the Yarden. Mosheh encourages his successor, Yehoshua (Joshua), not to fear the inhabitants on the other side of the Yarden, pointing to the evidence that we are well-able to take the land with HaShem’s help.

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Torah Portion: Deuteronomy 1:1 – 3:22

1st Aliyah: Deuteronomy 1:1-10 (10 verses)
2nd Aliyah: Deuteronomy 1:11-21 (11 verses)
3rd Aliyah: Deuteronomy 1:22-38 (17 verses)
4th Aliyah: Deuteronomy 1:39-2:1 (9 verses)
5th Aliyah: Deuteronomy 2:2-30 (29 verses)
6th Aliyah: Deuteronomy 2:31-3:14 (21 verses)
7th Aliyah: Deuteronomy 3:15-22 (8 verses)
Maftir: Deuteronomy 3:20-22 (3 verses)

Reading from the Nevi’im (Prophets):
Isaiah 1:1 – 1:27

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Mashiakh v’Mitzvot

Mashiakh in the Parashah

Will appoint Heads/Judges of the tribes.

Will himself be the highest judge.

Will cause Yisrael to take possession of the Promised Land.

Moav was shown you what miracles and mighty acts the Memra of HaShem had done on behalf of Bnei Yisrael.

HaShem would have spoken through His Memra to destroy Bnei Yisrael in response to the sin of the golden calf had He not been mindful of the covenant that He swore to the Patriarchs.

The Memra of HaShem multiplied Am Yisrael.

Bnei Yisrael rebelled against the Memra of HaShem our G-d in believing the words of the ten wicked spies.

It is the Memra of HaShem our G-d who went before us and would fight for us, as He did for us in Mitzraim before our eyes.

The Memra of HaShem our G-d went before us in the way to prepare a place for us to camp, in the pillar of fire by night and in the pillar of the cloud by day.

Bnei Yisrael rebelled against the Memra of HaShem, and did wickedly, and went up to the mountain.

The Memra of HaShem was the helper of Bnei Yisrael during their forty years in the wilderness, and they lacked nothing.

The Memra of HaShem destroyed the Zamzumim, whom Bnei Lot dispossessed.

The Memra of HaShem delivered Sikhon up before Bnei Yisrael, who smote him, and his sons, and all his people.

The Memra of HaShem gave Og, king of the Bashan, and all his people, and his land into Mosheh’s hands.

Mosheh instructed Yehoshua not to be afraid because the Memra of HaShem his G-d fights for him.

Mitzvot in the Parashah

Appoint judges who are wise and understanding and knowledgeable.

Judges must be impartial and judge righteously, as prescribed by HaShem.

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