From ReformJudaism.org https://reformjudaism.org/torah/portion/dvarim
D’varim (דְּבָרִים – Hebrew for “words”) – Deuteronomy 1:1−3:22
These are the words that Moses addressed to all Israel on the other side of the Jordan. – Deuteronomy 1:1
- Moses begins his final words of instruction to the Children of Israel, focusing first on recounting their physical journey. (1:1–21)
- Moses reviews the people’s reactions to the negative reports of the spies and the appointment of Joshua to succeed him. (1:22–45)
- Moses recounts that all of the Israelite warriors who left Egypt died, as God had intended, and the people continued their wanderings and defeated their enemies. (2:14–3:11)
- Moses reiterates that the Land of Israel was allocated to the Israelite tribes. (3:12–22)
Shabbat Chazon (Sabbath of Prophecy/Vision aka Black Sabbath) for Hebrew Year 5782 begins at sundown on Friday, 5 August 2022 and ends at nightfall on Saturday, 6 August 2022. This corresponds to Parashat Devarim.
Shabbat Chazon (“Sabbath [of] vision” שבת חזון) takes its name from the Haftarah that is read on the Shabbat immediately prior to the mournful fast of Tisha B’Av, from the words of rebuke and doom coming from Isaiah in the Book of Isaiah 1:1-27. It is also referred to as the Black Sabbath due to its status as the saddest Shabbat of the year (as opposed to the White Sabbath, Shabbat Shuvah, immediately preceding Yom Kippur).
Tisha B’Av commemorates the destruction of both the First and Second Temples as well as the Expulsion from Spain. This year Tisha B’Av begins the evening of Saturday, August 6 and ends at nightfall on Sunday, August 7, 2022.
From ReformJudaism.org https://reformjudaism.org/torah/portion/dvarim
By: Rabbi Jacqueline Mates-Muchin [Senior Rabbi, Temple Sinai, Oakland CA]
STRUGGLING WITH TORAH and REFLECTION
You can read this week’s Torah Portions at https://www.sefaria.org/Deuteronomy.1.1-3.22
From “The Torah / A Women’s Commentary” edited by Dr. Tamara Cohn Eskenazi and Rabbi Andrea L. Weiss, Ph.D.
דברים D’varim – Deuteronomy 1:1–3:22
At the Threshold of Canaan by Elsie R. Stern, p. 1039-40
EVENTS IN PARASHAT D’VARIM (“words”) take place on the plains of Moab in the lower Jordan valley, at the moment when Israel is poised to enter the land of Canaan. The parashah contains the beginning of Moses’ first farewell address, in which he reminds the people of their history: the journey from Mount Sinai (called Horeb in Deuteronomy), the scouts’ debacle, and encounters with foreign nations. Moses’ speech is not a neutral rehearsal of Israel’s history; rather, it underscores and supports central theological and ideological arguments found throughout Deuteronomy.
The words presented as Moses’ farewell address are directed toward a double audience. The first audience is one within the biblical text, the people of Israel about to enter the Promised Land. This imagined audience is standing at a pivotal moment: its members can either follow God’s commands or they can repeat the mistakes of the prior generation, presumably with disastrous consequences. Moses’ account is designed to encourage the people to make the right choice.
The second intended audience consists of Israelites who were contemporaries of the authors of this opening part of Deuteronomy. Most scholars believe that the material in this parashah, through 4:43 in the following parashah, was written during the Babylonian exile (586-538 B.C.E.) as an introduction to the laws that form the core of the book (Deuteronomy 12–26) and the prologue to these laws (Deuteronomy 4:44–11:32). The exilic authors of our parashah present a version of the past that accomplishes three goals. First, this account of past events emphasizes God’s role in Israel’s history. Second, it justifies Israel’s territory in theological terms. Third, it underscores obedience to God, as defined by Deuteronomy, as the key to Israel’s ongoing political and military success.
This parashah does not deal specifically with women. The seeming absence of women in this version of Israel’s narrative, however, raises an issue that has concerned biblical scholars in general and feminist scholars in particular, namely, how to assess the relationship between texts and a community’s social reality. Contemporary scholars, women and men alike, have shown how an account of the past is nearly always colored by an author’s own subjective position and ideological stance. These scholars train readers to guard against taking historical accounts as mirror representations of historical events; they encourage us instead to explore what historical accounts disclose about their authors’ historical and social situations. These methodological insights are particularly relevant to this opening part of Deuteronomy. In several places in this parashah, Moses’ accounts of events differ from those in Exodus or Numbers. A comparison of the different versions provides insight into not only the variety of historical traditions that flourished in ancient Israel, but also the variety of theological and ideological viewpoints that shaped them.
Another View – by Tammi J. Schneider, p. 1056
DEUTERONOMY COMMENCES with a review of several prior moments in Israel’s history. This parashah contains a theme relevant for women and all modern Jews, especially those interested in interpreting the text differently than has been done previously–for Moses, the great prophet and lawgiver, provides his own interpretation of Israel’s history and even law.
The book begins by claiming that what follows are Moses’ words, addressed to the Israelites (1:1), meaning that they are presented as his words, not those of the unidentified narrator. The text legitimates Moses’ comments, noting that they are “in accordance with the instructions that יהוה had given him” (1:3).
Before the start of Moses’ speech, we read, “Moses undertook to expound this Teaching” (torah; 1:5). The word translated as “undertook” expresses a decision connected with a new initiative or a bold action. The implication is that Moses initiates what becomes a long Jewish tradition: constant reinterpretation of the text. In an ironic and Jewish way, the Torah has already begun to be interpreted within the text.
A quick overview reveals that Moses’ address agrees with in general, but is not identical to, the way that these events are described in previous books. In some of these instances, the differences actually put more power in the hands of the people for things like choosing judges (Deuteronomy 1:13 versus Exodus 18:25) or sending out the scouts (Deuteronomy 1:22 versus Numbers 13:1). The book’s later portions even present some of the laws differently than in the prior books (see, for example, 12:2–28), indicating an early process of adaptation and interpretation, not just of history but of legal material as well.
Thus, the opening parashah of Deuteronomy, one of the most important books in the Hebrew Bible, teaches us an important lesson about the way traditions change over time, even within this most sacred text. This lesson is particularly relevant to women and liberal Jews, who at times have been criticized for engaging in what happens to be the very interpretive process witnessed in Deuteronomy–and exemplified in the work of the scholars who have contributed to this Commentary.
From “Mishkan T’filah / A Reform Siddur”:
FOR OUR COUNTRY p.516
THUS SAYS ADONAI, This is what I desire: to unlock the fetters of wickedness, and untie the cords of lawlessness; to let the oppressed go free, to break off every yoke. Share your bread with the hungry, and take the wretched poor into your home. When you see the naked, give clothing, and do not ignore your own kin.
O GUARDIAN of life and liberty, may our nation always merit Your protection. Teach us to give thanks for what we have by sharing it with those who are in need. Keep our eyes open to the wonders of creation, and alert to the care of the earth. May we never be lazy in the work of peace; may we honor those who have [served, suffered or] died in defense of our ideals. Grant our leaders wisdom and forbearance. May they govern with justice and compassion. Help us all to appreciate one another, and to respect the many ways that we may serve You. May our homes be safe from affliction and strife, and our country be sound in body and spirit. Amen.
We recite MI SHEBËRACH for the victims of abuse, brutality, conflicts, fear, natural disasters, pandemics, tragedies, violence of all kinds especially directed at individuals and specific communities including us, and war; for all those at home alone or lonely; for all those in need of physical, emotional, and mental healing. “R’fuah sh’lëmah” – a complete recovery!
We say KADDISH YATOM for those of our friends and families who have died and been buried this last week; those in the period of Sh’loshim (30 days since burial); those who have died in the last year; and those whose Yahrzeits/Anyos occur at this time; as well as the victims of brutality, conflict, disease, natural disasters, pandemics, tragedies, violence of all kinds, and war.
This coming week, the 9th through the 15th of Av, we lovingly remember:
Rishon ben Yosef
Brother of TKH member Ruben Gomez
TKH Memorial Board, Mother of Holly Sickles
Father of Cynthia Funkes
Mother of Jane Kolber
Betty Lou Shull
Mother of Keren Ginsburg
Those victims of the Sho’ah (Holocaust) who died at this time of year.
“ZICHRONAM LIV’RACHAH” – MAY THEIR MEMORIES BE FOR BLESSING.
TORAH STUDY AND SHAZOOM
We will meet as usual at the regular times for Torah Study and Shazoom this evening, Friday, August 5, 2022.
Zoom regularly updates its security and performance features. Making sure you have the latest version of Zoom, please join us online this evening with wine/grape juice for Kiddush and Challah for Motzi.
Topic: Torah Study – Devarim (triennial part) Deut. 2:31-3:22
Time: Aug 5, 2022 06:00 PM Arizona
Shazoom – Erev Shabbat Service
Time: Aug 5, 2022 07:30 PM Arizona
To join Torah Study and/or Shazoom click on the following link [you may need to copy it into your browser]: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/72510500854?pwd=Z3VQZWF4U1BBZytNYmh3aHFTWkFDZz09
Meeting ID: 725 1050 0854
Hint: The last character of the password is the number zero.
Shabbat Shalom – Buen Shabbat!