Questions Edit

Here are a few of the questions that the Rabbis raised about this Torah reading:

  • Why did Moses include the stories that he did from the Israelites’ history, while skipping others?[1]
  • Why did Moses start his address in Deuteronomy 1:1 by listing names of places?[2]
  • How does the story of the appointment of judges, first told at Exodus 18:13–26, differ when Moses retells it, in Deuteronomy 1:9–18?[3]
  • Why did Moses bring up the topic of the judges in Deuteronomy 1:9–18 at the point in his speech that he did? Does this relate to the commandments that he will teach in his main speech?[4]
  • Does God alone fulfill the promise of Deuteronomy 1:10 that Jews will become as numerous as “the stars of heaven”?[5]
  • How big was the bureaucracy of the heads of tribes, captains of thousands, captains of hundreds, captains of fifties, captains of tens, and officers”?[6]
  • What does the Torah mean in Deuteronomy 1:16 by the instruction to “judge righteously”?[7]
  • How does the story of the spies, first told in Numbers 13:1–14:45, differ when Moses retells it, in Deuteronomy 1:19–45?[8]
  • Does the Torah ever exaggerate?[9]
  • What’s the connection between parshah Devarim and Tisha B'Av?[10]
  • Does God punish people for the actions that they take before they reach age 20?[11]
  • If God forbade the Israelites from occupying the territory of Ammon and Moab in Deuteronomy 2:9–19, how could the Israelites acquire the land of Ammon and Moab that Sihon had conquered?[12]
  • While the generation of the wilderness died out, did God communicate with Moses?[13]
  • Why did Sihon resist the Israelites’ passage through Sihon’s territory? What does it mean that God hardened Sihon’s heart?[14]
  • Once God instructed Moses to begin to drive Sihon out, why did Moses send Sihon a message of peace? Is there an obligation to try to make peace even in a war of necessity?[15]
  • Why were the tribes of Reuben and Gad to fight at the vanguard?[16]

Notes Edit

  1. Menachem Leibtag. “Questions for self study for Sefer Devarim.” At
  2. Babylonian Talmud Berakhot 32a; The Sapirstein Edition Rashi: The Torah with Rashi's Commentary Translated, Annotated, and Elucidated: Devarim/Deuteronomy. Edited by Yisrael Isser Zvi Herczeg. Vol. 5, at 2. Brooklyn: Mesorah Publications, 1997. ISBN 0-89906-030-7.
  3. Pardes from Jerusalem.
  4. Menachem Leibtag. “Questions for self study for Sefer Devarim.” At
  5. Elie Kaplan Spitz. “On the Use of Birth Surrogates.” New York: Rabbinical Assembly, 1997. EH 1:3.1997b. Reprinted in Responsa: 1991–2000: The Committee on Jewish Law and Standards of the Conservative Movement. Edited by Kassel Abelson and David J. Fine, 529, 535–36. New York: Rabbinical Assembly, 2002. ISBN 0-916219-19-4.
  6. Babylonian Talmud Sanhedrin 18a.
  7. Babylonian Talmud Sanhedrin 7b.
  8. Pardes from Jerusalem.
  9. Babylonian Talmud Chullin 90b, Tamid 29a.
  10. Mishnah Taanit 4:6; Babylonian Talmud Taanit 26b, 29a.
  11. Babylonian Talmud Shabbat 89b.
  12. Numbers 21:26; Judges 11:13–23; Babylonian Talmud Gittin 38a.
  13. Babylonian Talmud Taanit 30b, Bava Batra 121a–b.
  14. Numbers Rabbah 19:29.
  15. The Sapirstein Edition Rashi, at 35–36. Torah With Ramban's Commentary Translated, Annotated, and Elucidated: Devarim/Deuteronomy. Edited by Nesanel Kasnett, Yaakov Blinder, Yisroel Schneider, Leiby Schwartz, Nahum Spirn, Yehudah Bulman, Aron Meir Goldstein, and Feivel Wahl. Vol. 7, at 65–67. Brooklyn: Mesorah Publications, 2008. ISBN 1-4226-0114-5.
  16. The Sapirstein Edition Rashi, at 43.