In this fifth and final book of the Torah, Moshe gives a speech a few weeks before he dies, reviewing all the deeds of the children of Israel in the desert. He recalls: the people's need to remain faithful to the commands given by God and the observance of His Torah; the sending of spies into Canaan and the distrust of the people resulting in a whole generation of Israelites who will never know it; the refusal of Moav and Ammon to let the children of Israel pass through their territory; the wars against the Emorites; the settlement of Reuven, Gad, and the half tribe of Menashe; and the leadership of Yehoshua, his successor, in the conquest of the Promised Land.
We are beginning the 5th book of the Torah, the last one: Deuteronomy. Its first portion, Parashat Devarim. This portion gives us a glimpse of what the entire book will be like—a situation where Moses sits before the people of Israel, like a teacher with all his students, all his followers around him. It seems as if he needs a review, some assistance, to recall the moments when he knows he will die. Thus, he must leave a legacy and list all the obligations, all the traditions: everything that has happened from the exodus from Egypt until now, after the covenant at Sinai, which was almost broken with the golden calf; then, there was another breach with the incident of the spies (meraglim) who were sent to explore the Promised Land but failed to see its abundance of milk and honey. Now, it is the renewed generation that will enter Eretz Israel, The Land of Israel.
The parashah that we are reading this week is Parashat Devarim. It is the first of the 5th and last book of the Torah.
In this parashah we see that the people of Israel must mature. Moshe is going to leave them alone and they are going to have to stop depending on him and make decisions for themselves.