Weekly Reading Insights: Devarim 5764



Overview of the Weekly Reading: Devarim

To be read on 6 Av 5764 (July 24th )

Deut. 1:1-3:22
Haftorah: Isaiah 1:1-27 (3rd of the Three Haftorahs of Affliction) )

Devarim is the 1st Reading out of 11 in Deuteronomy and 44th overall, and 26th out of 54 in overall length.
Pirkei Avot: Chapter Three

All of the Book of Devarim takes place in the last forty days of Moshe's life. He begins by  reviewing many of the Jews’ desert travels, wars and conquests, the appointing of judges, the spies’ sin and the nation’s subsequent punishment. G-d promises to help Yehoshua conquer in the Land of Israel as He helped Moshe conquer the lands of the Emorites and Bashan (the present day Golan) which were given to the tribes of Reuven, Gad, and part of Menashe.


From the holy Zohar, teachings of Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai (Z:44-64/Devarim)

And in the future the Holy One blessed be He will burn up all manner of wickedness from the world, as is written: "He will destroy death for ever; and the Lord G-d will wipe away tears from off all faces; and the insult of His people shall He take away from all the earth; for G-d has spoken it. And it shall be said on that day, Behold, this is our G-d; we have waited for Him, and He will save us... we will be glad and rejoice in His salvation." (Isaiah 25:8-9)

For the full article, click to the "Weekly Torah" section on our KabbalaOnline site.

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From the holy Ari, Rabbi Yitzchak Luria of Safed (A:44-64/Devarim)

As we are taught in Chasidut, although the emotions are revealed and guided by the intellect, they possess their own roots and origins within the pre-conscious mind (i.e. keter).

For the full article, click to the "Weekly Torah" section on our KabbalaOnline site.

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From the Shelah, Shney Luchot HaBrit by Rabbi Isaiah Horowitz (S:44-64/Devarim)

The making of vows, or failure to honor them, also involves one's soul. The immediate cause of Nebuchadnezzar's attack on Jerusalem was King's Zedekiah's having broken his solemn oath to the former not to rebel against his rule (II Kings 25:1). This is why the elders of Zion are reported as having put dust on their heads and having lowered their heads to the ground (Lamentations 2:10);

For the full article, click to the "Weekly Torah" section on our KabbalaOnline site.


"You have tarried long enough on this mountain."
The fact that the Jews were not allowed to "tarry" at Mount Sinai - the place where the Torah was given - teaches us that a Jew must never be concerned only with himself. Rather, he must try to extend his positive influence to others, even those who might be far from "Sinai."
(The Lubavitcher Rebbe)

"How can I alone bear your weight, your burden and your strife?" (1:12)
Rashi: the "burden" referred to by Moses was the heretics among the Jewish people.
The heaviest burden a person can bear is apostasy. The heart of a Jew who believes in G-d is calm and tranquil, while the heretic must constantly contend with the weight of his doubts and troubling thoughts."
(Rabbi Nachman of Breslov)


from the Chabad Master series, produced by Rabbi Yosef Marcus for

www.ascentofsafed.com and www.kabbalaonline.org

An essay from Rabbi Shaul Yosef Leiter, director of Ascent

(for a free weekly email subscription, click here) (W:44-64/Devarim)

We are now in the three week mourning period related to the destruction of the two holy Temples in Yerushalayim. One of the themes of these days is to do tshuvah, to examine our deeds and try our best to correct them. The custom not to bathe, do laundry, cut hair, eat meat, drink wine or to go swimming is certainly intended in part to help us focus on change and personal growth.

In connection with this, there is a very interesting idea in this week's parsha. In speaking about organizing a system of judges to answer the questions of the people, Moshe says, "The matter-davar-that is hard for you, bring to me and I will hear it".

The Baal Shem Tov asks, why does the verse add the words, "for you"? It would have been enough to say, "the matter that is hard, bring to me". Further, why does it say, "bring to me and I will hear"? It should say, "bring to me, and I will answer it".

The Baal Shem Tov based his explanation on the idea that is discussed in the Talmud that there are always Heavenly voices coming from Mt. Sinai telling us to do tshuvah, warning us of Heaven's impatience, cajoling us to get moving. Jewish tradition says that the inspiration for self change originates from these Heavenly voices.

The word in the verse that I translated as 'matter' based on the Hebrew word "davar", can also be translated as 'word'. Changing the reading according to the Baal Shem Tov's explanation would make the verse read, "That word that is hard for you (to hear), come to me and I will (help) YOU hear!" Is it possible to hear the Heavenly voices? Yes! But only when we realize that WE are an obstacle to them. Our obstinate attachment to the world and its physicality become like a screen that prevents us from hearing.

This is the inner dimension of the verse that says, "And the deaf people heard" (Yishaya 42). If you can not hear, know it is our own physicality that blocks us. If you do not succeed in removing the obstacle, find a teacher, like Moshe, to help you.

This Thursday evening and Friday is the day of the passing of the Ari, Rabbi Yitzchok Luria, the greatest Kabbalist of Safed. The custom here in Israel is to visit his grave and pray to G-d that in the merit of the tzadik in whose presence we stand (because a small part of the soul stays in the grave until Mashiach will come) may we be helped with our difficulties. The yartzeit is the most propitious day to do this because on this day of the tzaddik's passing all of his life accomplishments come to their pinnacle again, together with all of the added fruits/results of those accomplishments over the last year which came as a result of his teachings and deeds.

Whoever would like to send a note for us to read at the grave site is welcome. You may fax your note to 972-4-692-1942 or e-mail director@ascentofsafed.com.

Some of the ideas that Rabbi Luria was famous for:
*The Jewish people are like one body, one organism. And every Jew is like one particular organ or limb.
*I have seen the spiritually enlightened people and they are few. Many yearn to climb the Ladder and it disappears before their eyes.
*There is an inner soul that accompanies the person, and a soul that surrounds and transcends, hovering above the head, upwards. From this surrounding soul, the person is rooted in the divine.
*No person is fixed in this world. All of us are constantly moving. Our days are like a passing shadow which continues in motion from the day of birth, never stopping till the day of one's passing.
*It is a mitzvah on each individual to reveal the Hidden Wisdom.
(from the book Mekomot Kedoshim, Published by Leor)

Shabbat Shalom, Shaul Leiter

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