We reach the final book of the Torah, which is a review of the past 40 years.
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Moses reviews the travels, and travails, of the Israelites from when they refused to enter the land until that moment. He wrote this book in three separate discourses: the first being a review of their journey and events during that journey. The Second Discourse reviews the covenant God made with us and the 10 Commandments, as well as other aspects of the Mosaic Laws. Moses recites the Shema and reviews all the laws that God gave us during the 40 year travels in the desert, such as Kashrut (Kosher), the penal code, the Moedim (Holy Days), and miscellaneous laws such as marriage, removing landmarks, laws for warfare, cutting down of trees, etc.
The Third (and final) Discourse from Moses regards the enforcement of the law. He reviews how the laws are to be enforced throughout the tribes, and in this last discourse is one of my favorite chapters, Chapter 28, which we refer to as the “Blessings and Curses Chapter.” This is where God gives us his promise of the many blessings we receive for obedience to his Torah, as well as the warning and specification of all the curses that will befall us if we reject his instructions, which is tantamount to rejecting God.
The Torah is the ONLY place in the entire Bible where we can read that God tells Moses exactly what he is to tell the people; we aren’t talking about Moses’ interpretation of a vision, but dictation directly from the Almighty, himself!
Yet, despite the fact that the Torah is the direct word of God, the Torah is one of the first things that Christianity rejected in lieu of its own holidays, dogma, rituals, and laws. They kept the 10 Commandments as part of their religion, but that was about it.
Even though I know the history behind the separation of the “mainstream” Jews and the followers of Yeshua in the First Century, and how that schism developed into totally different religions composed almost exclusively of Gentiles with totally different laws, I still can’t understand how anyone could have so easily rejected God’s instructions. Especially when he warns us so vividly in Deuteronomy 28!
And looking back through history, we can see that God didn’t mislead us about what will happen when we ignore him.
If you want the “Reader’s Digest” version of the Torah, then this is the book for you. Everything that is essential to know about the first 4 books is in this one book, and to demonstrate how complete it is, Moses tells us that we shouldn’t add or subtract anything from this book. In fact, it is such an important thing that Moses gives this instruction twice: once at the beginning (Deut. 4:2) and again in the middle (Deut. 12:32).
The final act of leadership from Moses is to teach Israel what we call “The Song of Moses”, which is really the song of God since God told Moses to teach it to the people as a testimony against them when they turn away from the Torah in the future (Deut. 31:19); and finally, before ascending Mt. Nebo to die, Moses blesses the people.
As we go through this book over the next few months, until we come to Simchat Torah at the end of Sukkot when we turn the Torah back to Genesis to start reading it all over again, we will be able to relearn the most important of all the instructions God gave to us through Moses, which are the only ways (according to God, himself) by which we can earn as many blessings as God can give us.
And let me tell you something: God will never run out of blessings!
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My latest book, Parashot Drashim, is a commentary and bible study of each of the parashot in the Torah, so if you are interested you can get it through my website, or order it directly through Amazon books.
That’s it for this week, so l’hitraot and Shabbat Shalom!