–one who increases Torah, increases life; one who increases charity, increases peace
– Zion shall be saved by justice,”Restore our judges as of old,”
Devarim () is both the title for the last book from the scroll of the Torah and the Devarim means “Words.” “These are the words (devarim) which Moses spoke to all Israel across the Jordan in the wilderness” – Deuteronomy 1:1.
- A short introduction to Moses’ words of warning spoken in various places during his last days. He reviews some of the important events of the desert wanderings, beginning with the departure from Mt. Sinai.
- The appointment of judges and officers that helped Moses in administering the Israelite camp.
- The incident of the spies that resulted in the extension of the wilderness wanderings for forty years.
These are the words which Moses spoke unto all Israel beyond the Jordan; in the wilderness, in the Arabah, over against Suph, between Paran and Tophel, and Laban, and Hazeroth, and Di-zahab. -Deuteronomy 1:1
It is eleven days journey from Horeb by way of Mount Seir to Kadesh Barnea.
Repentance/Return to Torah
Zohar writings: The book of Deuteronomy, ‘Devarim’ is also called “?????????” that means repentance’ of the Torah or ‘Second Torah’. It’s on the level of Malchut and therefore reveals the Light of the entire Torah. Moshe in his words guides us to understand that we need to trust G-d so he can bless and do the work for us.
“YHVH, the G-d of your fathers, make you a thousand times so many more as you are, and bless you, as He has promised you!–” and ( Deut 1:30 ) “YHVH, your G-d who goes before you, He shall fight for you, according to all that He did for you in Egypt before your eyes’, And ( Deut 1:31 ) “and in the wilderness, where you has seen how that G-d carry you, as a man carry his son, in all the way that you went, until you came unto this place”. -Deuteronomy 1:11,30,31
Moses tells the people that G-d keeps and will keep his promises. In the future G-d will add 1000 times more of us with the blessings that he made to our fathers, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Moses is trying to make the Israelites understand that distancing ourselves from the Light puts us in trouble and loss. If the Israelites count was 600,000 at that time then 1000 times in the future means that they will be 600 million.
G-d’s blessing transcends the limits of understanding and is infinite, this being the experience of insight, or Chochma. “Before his death, Moses blessed the Jewish people: “May G-d, the G-d of your forefathers increase you a thousand fold.” ( Deut. 1:11 ) To this, the Jewish people replied, “Moses! You are setting a limit to our blessing (by limiting it to a thousand fold increase)! The Holy One, blessed be He, has already promised Abraham: ‘I will make your offspring like the dust of the earth’ meaning, if a person can count the dust of the earth, so will he be able to count your offspring. (Genesis 13:16). Moses replied, “What I said is my own blessing [i.e. the maximum extent to which I can bless you]. But as for G-d, He will indeed ‘bless you as He spoke of you.’” (Rashi )
Torah to them on the Plain of Moab on the other side of the Jordan River from Jericho:
In this book of “Deuteronomy” Moses is repeating the Torah to the children of the generation that rejected HaShem’s Promised Land. Moses is teaching the Torah to them on the Plain of Moab on the other side of the Jordan River from Jericho. Hence this book is often called “Mishneh Torah,” or “Repetition of Torah.” He is doing it as a reminder of how they got to this place – because this recounting of the “Law” is call for repentance on their part.
These are the commandments and the Judgements which HaShem commanded the children of Israel by the hand of Moses in the plains of Moab by the Jordan, across from Jericho. Deuteronomy 1:1 These are the words which Moses spoke unto all Israel beyond the Jordan; in the wilderness, in the Arabah, over against Suph, between Paran and Tophel, and Laban, and Hazeroth, and Di-zahab. – Numbers 36:13
In the book of New Testament: Now this is the testimony of John, when the Jews sent priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him, “Who are you?” He confessed, and did not deny, but confessed, “I am not the Messiah.” And they asked him, “What then? Are you Elijah?” He said, “I am not.” Are you the Prophet?” And he answered, “No.” Then they said to him, “Who are you, that we may give an answer to those who sent us? What do you say about yourself?” He said: “I am ‘The voice of one crying in the wilderness: Make straight the way of HaShem,’ as the prophet Isaiah said.”
These things were done in Bet Abarah beyond the Jordan, where John was baptizing. -John 1:19-23, 28
Yeshua, when referring to John “the Immerser,” made a midrash and compared him to Elijah. In so doing, Yeshua connected the words of Deuteronomy with the First Century and provided the prophetic backdrop for a time yet future – a time before the Great Day of HaShem. Here is what Yeshua said speaking of John:
For this is he of whom it is written: ‘Behold, I send My messenger before Your face, who will prepare Your way before You.’ -Matthew 11:10
It is Yeshua’s quote ( Malachi 3:1) and the subsequent passage from Malachi 4:4-6 that makes this “sermon” of Moses that comprises the book of Deuteronomy so pertinent to us today – and points to a time yet future.
The purpose for John “the messenger” is about the message of “Repentance” beyond the Jordan and it is the same message that Moses is recounting for that generation on the Plain of Moab, on the other side of the Jordan River. It is also the message of repentance.
In those days John the Immerser came preaching in the wilderness of Judea, and saying, ” Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand!” -Matthew 3:1
The same message that Yeshua taught: From that time Yeshua began to preach and to say, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” -Matthew 4:17
The same message that Yeshua sent His first disciples: In modern Judaism, like the ancient Judaism of Scripture, repentance always means this: return to Torah.
This is that Moses who said to the children of Israel, HaShem your G-d will raise up for you a Prophet like me from your brethren. Him you shall hear. This is he who was in the congregation in the wilderness with the Angel who spoke to him on Mount Sinai, and with our fathers, the one who received the living oracles to give to us, whom our fathers would not obey, but rejected. Which of the prophets did your fathers not persecute? And they killed those who foretold the coming of the Just One, of whom you now have become the betrayers and murderers, who have received the Torah by the direction of angels and have not kept it.
-Acts 7:37-39; 52
Stephen compared the rejecting of the Torah by the generation at Sinai (by their disobedience) to the generation that he stood before in the Sanhedrin that fateful day – a generation that also had rejected the Torah (by their disobedience).
John’s call for repentance had not been heeded. Yeshua’s call for repentance had not been heeded. In the years that followed Yeshua’s death and resurrection… the call for repentance was not heeded. They did not listen to these words which Moses spoke.
We start with Moses, on the banks of the Jordan river – playing the role of John – playing the role of Elijah – Calling for repentance – preparing the way for the King Mashiach ben David.
Remember the Torah of Moses, My servant, which I commanded him in Horeb for all Israel, with the statutes and judgements. Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of HaShem. And he [Elijah, by teaching the Torah of Moses] will turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the hearts of the children to their fathers, lest I come and strike the earth with a curse. -Malachi 4:4-6
By the grace of HaShem, one day Eliyahu will preach this to all who will listen, “Remember the Torah of Moses!” – and this time there will be genuine repentance – preparing the way for the returning King Messiah, Yeshua our Master. May it be soon, and in our days.
“He would also say: One who increases flesh, increases worms; one who increases possessions, increases worry; one who increases wives, increases witchcraft; one who increases maidservants, increases promiscuity; one who increases man-servants, increases thievery; one who increases Torah, increases life; one who increases study, increases wisdom; one who increases counsel, increases understanding; one who increases charity, increases peace. One who acquires a good name, acquired it for himself; one who acquires the words of Torah, has acquired life in the World to Come.” -Pirkei Avot / Ethics of the Fathers 2
The King of Kings, the Holy One blessed be He, Created this world so that there should be Unity, love and peace – without these there can be no sustaining of the world! Each day that passes, the light of Mashiach grows stronger and with this occurs the revelation of King Mashiach! We must increase kindness and benevolence in Am Yisrael, increase with Torah studies and prayer – Mashiach is on his way to being revealed!
Genesis 13 : 16
Psalm 137 : 1
Acts 7:37-39; 52
John 1:19-23, 28
This week’s reading, Parashat Devarim ( Deut 1:1-3:22 ), which comprises this introductory speech, presents two main stories in this overview: the first reviews the history of the parents generation that died in the wilderness ( Deut 1:6-46 ) and the second brings the history of the children’s generation ( Deut 2:1-3:29 ).
“These are the words that Moses addressed to all Israel” ( Deuteronomy 1:1 ), and a concluding verse, which summarizes its main point: “These are the terms [ lit. words ] of the covenant which the Lord commanded Moses to conclude with the Israelites in the land of Moab, in addition to the covenant which He had made with them at Horeb” -Deuteronomy 28:69.
The story of the spies is preceded by G-d’s command to come and inherit the land: “The Lord our G-d spoke to us at Horeb, saying: You have stayed long enough at this mountain. Start out and make your way to the hill country of the Amorites … enter the land … ” ( Deut 1:6-8 ), but after the sin of the spies comes the period of the punishment: “Thus, after you had remained at Kadesh all that long time … we … skirted the hill country of Seir a long time” ( Deut 1:46-2:1 ).
This one as well begins with a command from the Lord, whose language parallels the first command (Deut 1:6-8 ): “You have been skirting this hill country long enough; now turn north” ( Deut 2:2 ) and concludes with the words, “Meanwhile we stayed on in the valley near Beth-peor” ( Deut 3:29 ).
G-d’s command to leave Horeb ( Deut 1:7: “Start out and make your way to the hill country of the Amorites”) and carrying out this command (1:19: “We set out from Horeb and traveled the great and terrible wilderness…”). Moses incorporated into his speech the subject of appointing judges (1:9-18). Moses instruction to the judges (1:16-17).
Appoint them as Judges:
“Thereupon I said to you, ‘I cannot bear the burden of you by myself. The Lord your G-d has multiplied you … How can I bear unaided the trouble of you, and the burden, and the bickering!’” (1:9-12), and concludes with the appointment of the judges, whom Scripture calls “chiefs of thousands, chiefs of hundreds, …” The main body of this story is recounted in Exodus 18:14-26. There, too, an explanation is given for the need to appoint judges, except that it is given by Jethro, who asks Moses, “Why do you sit [as magistrate] alone, while all the people stand about you from morning until evening?” (Ex. 18:14). “For the task is too heavy for you; you cannot do it alone” (Ex. 18:18). However there are also further differences between the two accounts. To begin with, in Exodus the initiative for appointing judges came from Jethro, whereas here Moses abbreviated the account, seeing no need to mention whose initiative it had been. Secondly, in Exodus Scripture said briefly that Moses appointed the candidates, whereas here Moses went into greater length, explaining how he consulted with the people, commanding them to put forward candidates (1:13: “Pick from each of your tribes“), and only afterwards did he appoint them as judges. Thirdly, in Exodus the candidates were selected primarily according to their moral character: “men who fear G-d, trustworthy men who spurn ill-gotten gain” (Exodus 18:21), whereas in Deuteronomy Moses went on to note their intellectual capabilities: “Men who are wise, discerning, and experienced” (Deut. 1:13).
Judgements belongs to Most High:
Moshe Rabbeinu begins the legal section of Sefer Devarim by stressing the importance of, and the qualifications needed to be, a Jewish leader. Central to that is the admonition, “Do not fear ( lo taguru ) any man ( ish ), since judgement belongs to G-d” ( Deut 1: 17 -18). Moshe, as the man of truth, exhorts us not to be beholden to flesh and blood; after all, “all mankind is deceitful” (Psalms 116:8).
Moses’ opening remarks focus much attention on an issue that applies to a small percentage of the population, the creation of a judicial system: “Hear out your fellows, and decide justly between anyone and a fellow Israelite or a stranger. You shall not be partial in judgement: hear out low and high alike.Fear no one, for judgment is G-d’s.” ( Deut 1:16-17).
For a blessing by simply stating, “May your fear of heaven be as great as your fear of man” ( Brachot 28b).
In order to fully understand this we must consider the words of Shimon ben Gamliel: “The world rests on three things: on justice, on truth and on peace [Heb. shalom], as it is said: ‘Truth, justice and peace adjudicate in your gates’ (Zech. 8:16; in the New JPS Translation: Render true and perfect justice in your gates)” (Avot 1.18).
It would seem that Rabban Shimon ben Gamliel was talking about different values, about three distinct pillars that maintain a well-run human society. However, in the Jerusalem Talmud (Ta`anit 4.2) we find another angle on what he said:
All three are one; if justice is done, then truth is upheld, and peace is made. Rabbi Mana said: and all three occur in a single verse, “Render true and perfect [Heb. shalom] justice in your gates” (Zechariah. 8:16).
Where there is justice, truth will be found, and where there is truth, peace will be found. Hence, the first factor needed for a properly run society is a legal system. Rabbi Shimshon Raphael Hirsch’s commentary (Deut. 1:17) : When you make a legal ruling you are doing the work of heaven. It is not a matter of your own that you can evade, if you so wish; rather, judgement is the G-d’s, and you are obliged to realize it. Therefore, do not supress in your hearts a ruling that is just because of the fear of flesh and blood; on the other hand, you can trust in the Lord’s help insofar as you are doing His work. Thus said the Sages: “Any judge who render true and honest judgement, Scripture credits him with being like a partner of the Holy One, blessed be He, in the work of Creation” (Shabbat 10a). For justice shapes human life and gives them the form that the Creator intended in the hour of creation, since human beings were created none other than for freely realizing the will of G-d, and only to this end did the Creator place human beings in His world.
Regarding the nature of the relationship and the reciprocal bond between the earthly legal system and the heavenly legal system, Katav Sofer says (on Ex. 21:1). When judgement is rendered on earth it is not exacted in heaven, and when judgement is not rendered on earth it is exacted in heaven. The general rule is that as long as people in the world are reproved and judges mete out punishment to those who transgress, then the Lord behaves mercifully towards us; but when there is no law and justice to smite the wicked and no reproof, then justice is exacted in heaven and the supreme King, blessed be His name, places the earth in judgement…This seems to me to be the reason that judges are referred to as elohim, for the case of both parties will come before G-d [Elohim], since there must be justice, not mercy.
This means that the judge, when sitting on the bench, undertakes a function of G-d. He serves as judicial forum instead of the heavenly court, and the heavenly court does not see fit to intervene where a judge does his work faithfully. In this context, Rabbi Shimshon Raphael Hirsch adds in his commentary: “Just as perversion of justice is a sin towards man, so too is it towards Heaven.” The relationship between the land and justice. Regarding the connection between the legal system and the right of the people of Israel to the land of Israel we find in Sifre: “Justice, justice shall you pursue, that you may thrive and occupy the land” (Deut. 16:20) teaches us that appointment of judges was so that Israel may live and become settled in their land.
This line of reasoning can raise a similar question regarding the Amidah prayer. What do we have in mind? After the benediction of ingathering of exiles—”sound a great shofar blast for our liberation“— After all, the next stage after the exiles returning is to rebuild Jerusalem, for where are the Jews of the diaspora to come? Instead, the redactor of the prayer interrupts the progression with three other benedictions, the first of them dealing with the legal system: “restore our judges as of old.” Dealing with orders of state before the rebuilding of Jerusalem ostensibly disrupts the natural progression from ingathering the exiles to building Jerusalem. It may well be that in arranging the prayer the redactor learned a lesson from Moses and this week’s reading, for the order of the prayers also indicates to us dependence between a proper legal system and possessing the land. Along these lines R. Enoch Zondel ben Joseph (Bialystok, 19th century) writes in his commentary, Etz Yosef: It is well-known that we shall be redeemed solely on account of justice, as it is said, “Zion shall be saved by justice” (Isa. 1:27). That is why we ask, “restore our judges as of old.” And [the prayer] says, “remove from us sorrow and sighing” because “when the wicked dominate the people groan” (Prov. 29:2). For when (in antiquity) we were ruled by unscrupulous judges and justice was perverted, then we groaned greatly; but when upright judges are restored to us then that sighing will be turned into mirthful rejoicing.
An interesting interpretation of the benediction, “restore our judges as of old,” from the Sephardic Chief Rabbi Shlomo Amar. According to him, in making this request we are not looking back to the past and to specific judges. Rather, this request concerns our own judges and dayyanim sitting on the bench and deciding cases today. What is it that we ask for them? That the judge bear in his heart the initial feeling that stirred his soul as he sat writing his very first legal decision. Then, by the very nature of things and bearing in mind awe of the law and the responsibility that lies on his shoulders, the judge will contend with himself and grapple over how he should decide the case. His heart should pound before every conviction and his hands tremble before every award of compensation, lest he unwittingly err, perhaps by mistaken judgement, or because certain evidence was withheld from him, or because he misunderstood the words of the accused or the witnesses. We pray that this awareness be with the judge even as he writes a legal decision for the hundredth time, or the thousandth.
Note how supremely important a healthy and proper legal system is to our right to the land and to hastily bringing on Redemption. Now we can better understand the words of the prophet, “Zion shall be saved by justice.”
The entire matter of Redemption depends on the legal system according to the framework of Torah; therefore, before one comes to rebuilding Jerusalem and restoring the reign of the House of David, one must first set up a proper and fitting system of justice.
DEVARIM -By Rabbi Avraham Greenbaum
As always, we commence the reading of the book of DEVARIM (Deuteronomy), the last of the Five Books of Moses, on the Shabbos preceding the fast of Tisha Be’Av (9th Av) commemorating the destruction of the Holy Temple. Tisha Be’Av is a call to Teshuvah (repentance), setting us on course for the season of Teshuvah during the months of Av and especially Elul, in preparation for the coming New Year and the Days of Awe. Our study of DEVARIM will continue for the whole of this period, until we conclude the annual cycle of the Torah reading at the end of the festival of Succos, on Simchas Torah.
The themes of DEVARIM are appropriate for this period. The Book of DEVARIM is the Torah’s “mouth”, summarizing all that has gone before in the “main body” of the Torah. DEVARIM calls to the inner ear of the soul of Israel to hear the essential message of the Torah. Each of the twelve months of the year is integrally connected with one of the twelve tribes and one of the twelve basic human faculties (Sefer Yetzirah). The month of Av corresponds to the Tribe of Shimon and the faculty of hearing (see Genesis 29:33). It is significant that the phrase “SHEMA YISRAEL! Hear, O Israel” recurs in four key passages in the book of DEVARIM. The message is that we must “Hear the words of the wise!” (Proverbs 22:17). “These are the words (DEVARIM) which Moses spoke.” (Deut. 1:1) — “SOF DAVAR, the last word, after everything has been heard: fear G-d” (Kohelet 12:13).
We find in the opening verses of our parshah that Moses began the concluding discourses of his career “in the fortieth year, in the eleventh month on the first of the month” (Deut. 1:3). This was on the first day of the month of Shevat (Jan.-Feb.), thirty-seven days before Moses ascended Mount Nevo to gaze over the Land of Israel and leave the world on 7 Adar. Each of the six winter months is thematically connected with its corresponding summer month. Just as Shevat, fifth of the winter months, is the eleventh month of the year counting from Nissan, so the month of Av, fifth of the summer months, is the eleventh month of the year counting from Tishrei. The months of Shevat and Av are particularly propitious for deeper understanding of the Torah, and it is therefore fitting that Moses’ concluding discourses, delivered in the month of Shevat, are the focus of our Torah study during the month of Av.
Moses’ concluding discourses constitute a Covenant which he struck between G-d and Israel in the Plains of Moab, just as he had struck a Covenant between G-d and Israel at Sinai forty years earlier (see Deut. 28:69). At the end of the forty years wandering in the wilderness, Moses was now the undisputed leader of Israel. The rebellious generation of the Exodus had all died in the wilderness, to be replaced by the new generation that stood before him now, poised to enter the land under Joshua. All the challenges to Moses leadership — the Golden Calf, the sin of the Ten Spies, the rebellion of Korach, the sin of Baal Pe’or, etc. — had been overcome and were now part of history. In DEVARIM, Moses again and again returns to this history, in order to draw out its lessons for the future.
Thus the opening verse of our parshah of DEVARIM appears on the surface to give the location in which Moses delivered his discourse. However, since the various locations mentioned in the verse are all somewhat different, they are construed by the Aramaic Targum and biblical commentators as being a series of allusions to the various sins of the past and the lessons that were to be learned from them (see Rashi on Deut. 1:1). It is with this veiled reproof to the nation that Moses began his final task as leader: to forge the thousands and thousands of Israel — who were “like the stars of the heavens for a multitude” (Deut. 1:10) — into a single, unified, purposeful nation that would be worthy of entering the land promised to Abraham and inheriting it for eternity. Thus it is that the book of Deuteronomy begins with reproof but ends with blessing — “And this is the blessing which Moses, man of G-d, blessed the Children of Israel before his death. Happy are you, Israel! Who is like you, a people saved by HaShem? . Your enemies will waste away for you, and you will tread upon their high places” (Deut. ch. 33 v. 1 & v. 29).
Throughout Deuteronomy, Moses repeatedly addresses the people by the name of Israel. Not only does the name Israel carry the connotation of victory, “for you have struggled with G-d and with men, and you have prevailed” (Gen. 32:28). The letters of the name Israel also include the word YASHAR, “straight”, “upright”. This is even more explicit in the other biblical name for the Hosts of Israel – YESHURUN (Deut. 32:15; 33:26). The names Israel and Yeshurun indicate that when the people are united and purposeful under the sole, unchallenged leadership of Moses, the archetypal Tzaddik, they are the epitome of order and rectification. (Kabbalistically, YOSHER, the “upright” scheme of the Sefirot, indicates order and repair, as opposed to IGULIM, the “circular” scheme, indicating repeated cycles of disrepair and chaos.)
Since the issue of leadership is so crucial, it is the first raised by Moses in his discourses, after recounting how G-d had told him to leave Mount Sinai and begin the journey to the Land of Israel. It was far from easy to lead a people as fractious and argumentative as this. In order for Moses’ leadership to permeate to all levels of the people, it was necessary to establish a hierarchical system of “captains of thousands and captains of hundreds, captains of fifties and captains of tens, and police”. The verses in our parshah defining the necessary qualities of the people’s leaders and judges and explaining how they are to adjudicate (Deut. 1:13-17) constitute the main foundation of the Torah laws of judges and judicial procedure. These deserve particular attention today, when the absence of leadership of true integrity and caliber is the bane of all our lives.
HISTORY AND PREHISTORY
Moses’ discourse in parshas DEVARIM covers some of the key events in the forty years wandering in the Wilderness and the lessons to be derived from them. These include the Sin of the Ten Spies, which is of particular relevance to us this week as we approach Tisha Be’Av, since this is not only the anniversary of the destruction of the Temple but also of the evil report given by the spies in the Wilderness, the ultimate cause of the destruction of the Temple. Similarly, the rectification of LASHON HARA, evil speech, is one of the main preconditions for the rebuilding of the Temple.
Moses’ historical survey retraces the final stages of the journey of the Children of Israel to the Land, including their circuiting of the lands of the Edomites, the Moabites and the Ammonites and their conquest of Sichon king of the Emorites and Og king of Bashan. The original narrative of these journeys and conquests was given in the later parshiyos of the book of BAMIDBAR (Numbers) — CHUKAS, MATOS and MAS’EY.
The Children of Israel were forbidden to try to conquer the territories of the Edomites, the Moabites and the Ammonites. These three territories were among the ten promised to Abraham (together with those of the seven Canaanite nations), but they were forbidden to the Children of Israel (until in time to come) because they were already in the hands of Abraham’s descendants or associates. The Edomites were the children of Esau, Abraham’s grandson, while the Moabites and Ammonites were the descendants of the daughters of Lot. Lot had been rewarded with these territories because of his loyalty to Abraham in Egypt by not revealing that Sarah was Abraham’s wife (Genesis ch. 12).
Moses introduces some prehistory into his historical account by explaining how the Edomites, Moabites and Ammonites conquered their respective territories from the frightening prehistoric giants who inhabited them previously. For: ” ‘He explains the power of His works to His people give them the inheritance of the nations’ (Psalm 111:6) — for if the nations of the world say to Israel, ‘You are robbers because you have conquered the lands of seven peoples,’ they can reply to them: ‘All the earth belongs to the Holy One, blessed be He; He created it and gave it to whom he saw fit. When he wanted, He gave it to them, and when he wanted, he took it from them and gave it to us’ ” (Rashi on Genesis 1:1).
Kabbalistically, the Seven Canaanite Nations correspond to the broken vessels of the seven lower Sefirot (from CHESSED down to MALCHUT). The conquest of the Land of the Canaanites and its transformation into the Land of Israel parallels the rectification of these seven broken vessels (IGULIM) and their reconstitution in “upright” form, YOSHER = Israel. The territories of Seir, Moab and Ammon correspond respectively to the three upper Sefirot of Keter, Chochmah and Binah. These will become the inheritance of the true heirs of Abraham in time to come, when the cycle is complete and the world attains perfect rectification.
The Land of Israel was given to Abraham as part of the Covenant. The sign of the Covenant is BRIS MILAH, the circumcision, in which the foreskin is cut off and the membrane over the organ peeled away, signifying the peeling off and removal of the husks of evil that conceal holiness. In order to conquer the Land of Israel, it was first necessary to conquer the two giant kings who were the main bulwarks of the Canaanites: Sichon king of the Emorites and Og king of Bashan. Sichon corresponds to the foreskin, while Og corresponds to the membrane (ARI). The removal of these “gigantic” evil husks could be accomplished only by Moses, King of Israel: “And there was a king in Yeshurun, when the heads of the people gathered, the tribes of Israel together” (Deut. 33:5).
“All that HaShem your God did to these two kings, so HaShem will do to all the kingdoms to which you are passing over. Do not fear them, for HaShem your G-d, He will fight for you!” (Deut. 3:21-2).
May we see the restoration of Israel and the rebuilding of the Temple quickly in our times!
Shabbat Shalom!!! –Avraham Yehoshua Greenbaum
Haftarat Portion – Devarim – Isaiah 1:1-27
Our haftarah begins:
Hear, O heavens, and give ear, O earth! For HaShem has spoken: “I have nourished and brought up children, and they have rebelled against Me; The ox knows its owner and the donkey its master’s crib; but Israel does not know, My people do not consider…” -Isaiah 1:2-3
Your country is desolate, your cities are burned with fire; strangers devour your land in your presence; and it is desolate, as overthrown by strangers.
I have had enough of burnt offerings of rams and the fat of fed cattle. I do not delight in the blood of bulls, or of lambs or goats. “When you come to appear before Me, who has required this from your hand, to trample My courts? Bring no more futile sacrifices; incense is an abomination to Me. The New Moons, the Sabbaths, and the calling of assemblies – I cannot endure iniquity and the sacred meeting. Your New Moons and your appointed feasts My soul hates; they are a trouble to Me, I am weary of bearing them. When you spread out your hands, I will hide My eyes from you; even though you make many prayers, I will not hear. Your hands are full of blood. -Isaiah 1:11b-15
Beloved, can you hear the pain in the Almighty’s words? These are not words of rejection – they are words that a husband would say to wife who is constantly unfaithful.
Our prayers for the return of the Temple are prayers of repentance.
Rabbi Yose says, “I was once traveling on the road, and I entered into one of the ruins of Jerusalem in order to pray. Elijah of blessed memory appeared and waited for me at the door till I finished my prayer. After I finished my prayer, he said to me: ‘Peace be with you, my master!’ and I replied: ‘Peace be with you, my master and teacher!’ And he said to me: ‘My son, why did you go into this ruin?’ I replied: ‘To pray…’
He further said to me: ‘My son, what sound did you hear in this ruin?’ I replied: ‘I heard a divine voice, cooing like a dove, and saying: “Woe to the children, on account of whose sins I destroyed My house and burnt My Temple and exiled them among the nations of the world!”‘
And he said to me: … “Not in this moment alone does it so exclaim, but three times each day does it exclaim this! And more than that, whenever the Israelites go into the synagogues and schoolhouses and respond: ‘Y’hey sh’meh raba m’varach!’ [‘May His great Name be blessed!’, from the Kaddish prayer] the Holy One, blessed be He, bows His head and says: ‘Happy is the King Who is thus praised in this house! Woe to the father who had to banish his children, and woe to the children who had to be banished from the table of their father!’” -b.Berachot 3a
Because of His children’s sin/Israel Sin, He exiled them among the nations.
Three times a day around the world in synagogues and study halls we pray the Kaddish prayer. Three times a day, we respond to the Almighty with praise and worship. Happy indeed is the King Who is praised this way.
We pray, repenting of our waywardness and rebellion. We pray for his mercy and his compassion for the house of Israel… and He has heard our prayers!
Our haftarah continues:
“Wash yourselves, make yourselves clean; put away the evil of your doings from before My eyes. Cease to do evil, learn to do good; seek justice, rebuke the oppressor; defend the fatherless, plead for the widow. Come now, and let us reason together,” says HaShem, “Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall be as wool. If you are willing and obedient, you shall eat the good of the land…” -Isaiah 1:16-19
And our haftarah ends with these blessed words:
I will restore your judges as at the first, and your counselors as at the beginning. Afterward you shall be called the city of righteousness, the faithful city.” Zion shall be redeemed with justice, and her penitents with righteousness.
Come quickly Mashiach! Messiah Our Yeshua is Coming, and He will reign over us from David’s throne in Zion! Amen!
We will see that the children of Israel return to Most High and Torah of Mashiach, And will hug in the Holy Land, and by obeying and listening the “VOICE of Most Ancient Holy One of Israel”, will bring offerings in a righteous way on the holy mountain and also bring the Ark of the covenant with pure heart in the right place ( i.e In Har HaBayit, on the foundation Stone) .
We will Welcome the son of David on Mount Zion, Jerusalem.
[ Ha Khadosh Baruch Hu – Baruch HaBa B’Shem Adonai ] – Gaddi, President, BetYisrael International.
Gaddi – President
A Servant of Most Ancient Holy one of Israel and Disciple of Yeshua HaMashiach