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Parshas Devarim: Fighting Words


“Devarim” (Deuteronomy) means “words” in Hebrew.

Moses (Moshe) is speaking words of significance to the Jewish people, to prepare them as he turns over the reins of leadership to Joshua (Yehoshua).

After these words, the people will enter the Land of Israel to conquer it through battle.


So I guess just to put this portion in context, you know, think about some of the things that we’ve seen this week, right?

We’ve seen that while there is unbelievable, shocking rioting, violent lawless writing destruction going on, we have certain public officials who are focused on very superficial things, like name-calling.

Now, I know that name calling, of a public official is not the best thing, but compared to the actual destruction, the actual physical destruction of our country, I can’t even see the comparison.

And yet the headlines gravitate to a public official complaining about being name-called.


I thought about this a lot. I thought about someone who is an advocate for survivors, who I greatly respect, then coming out and saying a very hurtful thing about the president, who, you know, forgive me for mixing religion and politics, but I do really see as the appointed one to lead us to messianic times.

And I do really see concrete years and years and years of trying to be productive in the face of unbelievable lies, sedition, insurrection, you name it.

So this person said something completely false and really wrong about the president.

And I thought about this term “fighting words.”

We think of war as fighting with weapons and fighting with people holding guns shooting, but increasingly war has become a war of words, a war of minds.


Think about Q. As all know, Q is leading us to what, to the Trump empire? No, it’s to the Great Awakening.

Words are meant to stir us, to awaken us, to bring us to truth.

This portion of the Torah, Devarim (Deuteronomy), is really about Moses using words to stir the people.

We see him rebuking the people, recapping what has happened in the desert along the way, and preparing them for actual war, giving Joshua the ammunition, the mental strength, the encouragement to actually fight with weapons, with swords, to conquer the land of Israel.


There are always going to be people who say negative things, who take the army of God and drag it down.

Now, I consider myself to be an independent thinker and I respect all the independent thinkers out there who say their piece and they complain.

Obviously there is a difference between complaining — legitimate criticism and concern — and just using words to destroy.

I really feel like that’s the fundamental conflict of our time: people who are using words to build and to lead to concrete, productive results for our country and people who are just using words to destroy —- how tricky they are.


About a month before his passing, Moses repeats the Torah to the Jewish people and reviews the journey in the desert thus far.

He reminds them of the mistakes they have made, and implores them to keep God’s commandments when they conquer the land.


Moses does not say, hey, you know, like you’re totally awesome and now we’re going to Israel and it will be totally awesome.

Rather Moses says, you really kind of messed up. You keep messing up. And if you want to keep Israel, you need to stop messing up.

It’s interesting that this rebuke is coupled with a repetition of the Torah. And so, you know, for us, I think the lesson is that, as we move toward what’s coming next, hopefully good times and a very swift restoration, we have to remember to do what God commands us in the Torah.


Moses says, think about the contract that you have with God.

Think about that because you’re not winning on your own steam.

You’re only winning by following that contract and look how you’ve messed up.

We’re so used to fake news, it’s really refreshing when we are told the truth.


I think people do need to hear the truth about what has happened in this country and that there can’t be these different tracks of understanding.

> one track of people who knows what’s really going on

> one track of people who like me, you know, we’re reading, we’re trying to educate ourselves

> this third track who just, they just don’t know. They just don’t know. Those are the people who most need to be reached with some facts.


Moses brings people together with words. And if you remember, Moses had said to God, I don’t want to be in charge of these people. Like I am not the one to lead. I can’t talk. I have a speech impediment. I cannot lead an entire nation of people in the desert for 40 years.
I mean, to him, the idea of someone with his disability was very hard to, to accept. And God said, no, I want you, I want you.

Ultimately, he embraces this role that God has destined for him. It inhabits him. He’s the most humble person, you know?


It’s really a lesson, um, as well, that when you, you are destined to do something, you might think that it is impossible, given where you are given your past, given your failings, and it’s just the opposite.

It’s like, God takes the disabled and makes them speak and walk and run. God takes the sinner. And specifically turns the sinner around.


But you know, we talk about the creation of the world as being, um, in Judaism, we talk about the shattering of the vessels.

This is a mystical Kabbalistic concept. You know, you hear about the big bang theory, right? Well, we talk about, um, things being perfect and whole, and then shattering, okay.

The details don’t really matter, et cetera, think of a, you know, a glass or a vase and you knock it, you’re off the table and you know how like all the glass gets all over the place and it gets into the, into the floor.

And you can, even when you vacuum it, you can’t really get all the glass out. And you’re kind of crunching your feet on it for weeks afterward; that is essentially the shattering of the vessels and Jewish people see our task as repair of the world — Tikkun Olam — through our actions.

We have to find all that glass and put it back together again into a vase. I mean, think about how hard that is. And so when a sinner and I mean, every sinner, from a really a bad person to basically just wayward person, who’s not living a Godly life. Who’s just not thinking about God, just, you know, selfish kind of thing into themselves.

Every single person who turns himself around is picking a piece of glass up off the ground. And so that is the, you know, sometimes people say, Everything else aside, it is the sinner who turns their life around who God loves.

Of course, God loves everyone, but God loves the sinner most who redeems himself or herself through following God, just through simple repentance and following God.

Using good and appropriate words is a tool of self-redemption.


Moses reminds the Jews that it starts with having an honest judge.

So some people say, well, we have to change like the meaning of things because our morals have evolved. Um, and it’s a really serious question. I mean, partially that, you know, yes, we do have to think about how the meanings and the intentions behind the law do evolve.

And sometimes we need new laws, but fundamentally Moses is saying here, if the Torah tells you X, well follow the leader who’s implementing X and don’t go off and don’t try to adjust the law to your taste or to be, you know, the one person who’s adjudicating everything because that’s impossible.


Moving along, Moses recaps the journey from Sinai through the sending of the spies. And this is the incident where, you know, Moses sent the Scouts to look at Israel, um, and they came back and only two of them were faithful, eg; “this is the situation, we can do it.”


You can say the truth and still be on the team As colleagues with whom you disagree if you focus on being productive.

Let the facts speak for themselves — show us. And don’t tell us, ever, what we are supposed to think.


By Dr. Dannielle (Dossy) Blumenthal. All opinions are the author’s own. Public domain. Free photo by ArtTower via Pixabay (

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