This week’s Torah Portion is called Devarim. We are beginning the book of Deuteronomy and the verses are 1:1-3:22. Here is a brief commentary from Baruch:
This Shabbat we begin reading the fifth and final book in the Law of Moses. It is also a special Shabbat as it is the Shabbat that precedes Tisha B’Av (the ninth day of the Jewish month called Av). Tisha B’Av commemorates the destruction of the First and Second Temples. Although we are still in the three weeks of mourning, from the seventeenth of Tamuz until after Tisha B’Av, I wanted to focus this article on something positive. We read this Shabbat,
“HaShem your G-d has multiplied you and behold, you this day are like the stars of the heavens in abundance.” Deuteronomy 1:10
This verse speaks to the faithfulness of HaShem in regard to His people. One needs to remember that during the forty years in the wilderness all the people except Joshua and Caleb died. Yet, according to this verse, the people had nevertheless multiplied into a great abundance. Normally, when one reads concerning the promise that Israel will grow into a great nation, two descriptions are given.
“For I will surely bless you and I will surely multiply your seed as the stars in the heavens and the sand which is upon the seashore and your seed will inherit the gate of his enemy.” Genesis 22:17
In the passage from Deuteronomy only the first description is mentioned. Why is this? Most scholars understand the portion relating to the sand on the seashore as speaking about a great number. Although the stars in the heavens also represent an even larger number, one must remember what is said about the stars in Genesis 1:14,
“And G-d said, ‘Let there be lights in the firmament of the heavens to make a distinction between the day and the night and let them be for signs and appointed times and days and years’.”
Biblically speaking, day and night can also refer to good and evil. Signs and appointed times all have to do with revelation and illumination from G-d. In other words, despite the fact that the Children of Israel were in a difficult place, the wilderness, still HaShem was faithful to carry out His word to multiply Israel and prepare them to be a source of illumination and revelation to the world.
I find much encouragement in the fact that I can be in the midst of a difficult circumstance, perhaps even of my own making, and G-d will continue to move in my life and make me into the person that His Son died so that I could become.
HE IS INDEED FAITHFUL