Devarim – Torah on Rewind

When we first met him back in Parashat Shemot Moshe said to God: “Lo Ish Devarim Anochi, I am not a man of words” (Shemot 4:10). Here in Parashat Devarim, however, Moshe is a man of many words. Like a movie on rewind, Moshe goes through a number of problems that Bnai Yisrael encountered throughout the desert, including the Amorites who chased Bnai Yisrael like Dvorim, bees. The Midrash in Devarim Rabbah 1:6 discusses a word-play between Dvarim, words, and Dvorim, bees.

  • What do you believe is the significance of the similarities between these two words?
  • How do Moshe’s words in this Parasha sting Bnai Yisrael?
  • What is it like for you to revisit past disappointments with important people in your lives?
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2 Responses to Devarim – Torah on Rewind

  1. Susan Mullen says:

    Thanks so much for noting the word-play between Dvorim and Dvarim!

    The first thing that occurs to me when I think of bees is the cartoon bear being chased by a swarm of bees. I am a very quiet person, and it’s very easy for me to feel like that bear when I’m around people who talk a lot. But — I need to remember that bees are very busy and productive, and they even do an extra job, pollination, which helps other creatures. So it is with words. They can be of great help, even help that the speaker does not intend.

    • Susan, thank you for your thoughtful response. I appreciate your analogy to a bear being chased by Dvorim (or Dvarim!). We certainly have many Dvarim coming at us each day – from in-person conversations, to email, to twitter-feeds. Yishar Kochech on your modern Midrash!

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