This week we begin the final book of the Torah…Devarim.
In Parashat Devarim, Moses begins his final sermon to the Israelite people. He is pouring out his heart to the people that he has been leading, and it is his final opportunity to speak to them. They will soon cross over into the Promised Land without him, and he has chosen a new leader to guide them. This Parashat sounds different than the ones that we just left in Bemidbar. None of that: “The Lord spoke to Moses and said:” There’s more patience here, more guidance, more listening. Moses’s sermon recounts those days when the Israelites left Egypt to freedom, and the conquests that they made against enemies throughout the years. These Israelites are the first generation that was raised by former slaves. Moses warned them not to abuse their power and how they treated those that were weak. "For you were strangers in the Land of Egypt." Since we ourselves were slaves, Moses was afraid that we might abuse our power.
In fact, Moses was very concerned that the Israelites would be consumed with the idea of power. To combat these influences Moses gives laws to the Israelites to limit their use of power.
Devarim is about listening, and recalling, and being socially conscious
It’s about remembering our past, so that we can move forward into our future.