Va-Etchanan no.1 Deuteronomy 3:22-4:49 (19 July, 2013, Av 12, 5773)
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Duration: 37.13 minutes
Warnings to Israel
s1 Deuteronomy 3: 23-4:4
The Promised Land and the Spreading Outwards of Sanctity; Moses representing the side of Judah, Joshua of Joseph;
The Adding of New Commandments or the Detraction of Old ones is Forbidden! Cleave to GOD and Live!
s2. Deuteronomy 4:5-40
Jewish and Gentile Intellectual Prominence Connected with Bible Learning! Be Good for your own Sake and for the Sake of Others! The Exile Predicted: The Different DestiniesÂ of Judah and Joseph. The Expulsion of Foreign Nations. If Only For the Sake of Our Children We should be Good!
s3 Deuteronomy 4:41-49
The Eastern Cities of Refuge and the Present-Day Violence of American Culture
s1. 3: 23-4:4
The Promised Land and the Spreading Outwards of Sanctity
Moses (Deuteronomy 3: 23) pleaded with God to be allowed to enter the Land but his request was not to be granted.
Technically speaking Moses was already in the Land. TheÂ Promised Land stretches from the Nile to the Euphrates.
Moses wanted to cross the Jordan River to enter the western section of the Land of Canaan. Though the Holy Land stretches technically from the Nile to the Euphrates there are different levels of sanctity in it.
"The Land of Israel" by Rabbi Yehonatan Davidiy
Different Levels of Holiness
##The Land of Canaan [west of the Jordan] is more holy than the Land east of the Jordan since the Land of Canaan is suited for a Temple to serve the Divine Presence whereasÂ East of the Jordan is not suitable.##
The region west of the Jordan had to be conquered in order that a greater degree of sanctity should be realized throughout all the other areas that had already been conquered.
The Promised Land is Holy but it needs Israelites on it for its sanctity to come into effect. The area west of the Jordan needed to be conquered and settled before the rest of the region can be incorporated within its holiness.
Moses representing the side of Judah, Joshua of Joseph
Instead of Moses from the Tribe of Levi, Joshua from Ephraim was to lead the Israelites in entering the Land.
Â 28 But command Joshua, and encourage him and strengthen him; for he shall go over before this people, and he shall cause them to inherit the land which you will see.
29 So we stayed in the valley opposite Beth Peor.
Moses was from the Tribe of Levi. Levi together with Judah, Benjamin, and representative minorities of other tribes gave rise to the Jewish people. The Tribe of Levi moved en masse to Judah because of religious loyalty to the Law of Moses.
[2-Chronicles 11:13] AND THE PRIESTS [Cohanim] AND THE LEVITES THAT WERE IN ALL ISRAEL RESORTED TO HIM [i.e. to Rehoboam son of Solomon of the House of David against whom the Ten Tribes under Jeroboam had rebelled] OUT OF ALL THEIR COASTS.
[2-Chronicles 11:14] FOR THE LEVITES LEFT THEIR SUBURBS AND THEIR POSSESSION, AND CAME TO JUDAH AND JERUSALEM: FOR JEROBOAM AND HIS SONS HAD CAST THEM OFF FROM EXECUTING THE PRIEST'S OFFICE UNTO THE LORD:
In a sense Levi represents Judah and Moses may be considered a precursor of the Messiah son of David who comes from Judah. Here we have Moses [representing Judah] passing away and the leadership being turned over to Joshua from the Tribe of Ephraim. Joshua was about to lead all Israel in conquering Land. Joshua in a sense was a forerunner of the Messiah son of Joseph. In the future the roles will be reversed. Messiah son of Joseph will begin to lead the Ten Tribes and other Israelites back but the task will be completed by Messiah son of David.
The Adding of Â New Commandments or the Detraction of Old ones is Forbidden!
1 Now, O Israel, listen to the statutes and the judgments which I teach you to observe, that you may live, and go in and possess the land which the Lord God of your fathers is giving you. 2 You shall not add to the word which I command you, nor take from it, that you may keep the commandments of the Lord your God which I command you.
We are forbidden to invent commandments or to say that any particular strictness that we practice is the same as the commandment. The Jewish rabbis added all kinds of guide-lines and safety guards around many of the commandments so that they should not be transgressed even by accident. They were very careful however to always make it quite clear where the actual commandment began and ended. They always emphasized that their additions were no more than their own enactments and not part of the commandment itself.
As in every community however one gets all types. We have to be tolerant of eccentrics and fanatics in the same way as we sometimes tolerate others who are more lenient than ourselves.
Cleave to GOD and Live!
At Baal Peor all the worshippers of false idols were put to death or died by plague. Moses recalls this event.
3 Your eyes have seen what the Lord did at Baal Peor; for the Lord your God has destroyed from among you all the men who followed Baal of Peor. 4 But you who held fast to the Lord your God are alive today, every one of you.
This is correct. People who go in the good path and do as well as they can serving God according to their abilities will usually be much better off over the long run. Most of those reading these lines or listening to them being broadcast are basically good people. Otherwise they probably would not be interested. As good as we may or may not be there are or were periods in the lives of all of us that we would have changed if we could. Looking back we often see that we too if we had have been a little better than we were would have been better off.
Jewish and Gentile Intellectual Prominence Connected with Bible Learning!
5 Â Surely I have taught you statutes and judgments, just as the Lord my God commanded me, that you should act according to them in the land which you go to possess. 6 Therefore be careful to observe them; for this is your wisdom and your understanding in the sight of the peoples who will hear all these statutes, and say, Surely this great nation is a wise and understanding people.Â
Those who obey the commandments and follow the Law as a community develop their understanding, basic intuitive abilities, and intellectual capacity, and attune their behavior to the requirements of Divine Providence. In the eyes of others they succeed because they seem wise and in a sense that is indeed what they very often are.Â
Jews have significant intellectual acheivements. This is connected with Torah learning. Jews who stop learning Torah after three generations loose their relative intellectual advantage over their Gentile neighbors.
Not only Jews but also Gentiles from the Ten Tribes.
Puritans in England, Presbyterians in Scotland, Calvinists and Huguenots in France and Switzerland ALL were relatively speaking very highÂ achievers. The Lowland Scots at one stage had the highest intellectual results in the world. This applied to them and to their children after them. It was associated with intensive Bible learning. Once they became lax in Scripture Study they fell back.
Be Good for your own Sake and for the Sake of Others!
9 Only take heed to yourself, and diligently keep yourself, lest you forget the things your eyes have seen, and lest they depart from your heart all the days of your life. And teach them to your children and your grandchildren, 10 especially concerning the day you stood before the Lord your God in Horeb, when the Lord said to me, Gather the people to Me, and I will let them hear My words, that they may learn to fear Me all the days they live on the earth, and that they may teach their children.
We should teach our children and grandchildren these truths if we are able to do so. We should endeavor to be as good as we can not only for our own sakes but also for the good of everybody else including those who will come after us.
Many people would live much better lives if they only knew these things.
Moses describes the time at Mount Sinai when all the Children of Israel as one body received the Torah and agreed to keep it.
The Exile Predicted: The Different DestiniesÂ of Judah and Joseph
27 And the Lord will scatter you among the peoples, and you will be left few in number among the nations where the Lord will drive you.
The people were threatened with Exile if they should worship foreign gods or if they should try to imagine God in human or any other material form.
Here we find that it was said that if they were exiled they would be reduced in number.
In the Book of Hosea we find that the Israelites would be exiled for their sins, be disowned, but grow to an immense multitude and later be re-acknowledged and reconciliated.
See: Gomer and Israel
We find that the northern Ten Tribes who wereÂ to be exiled for worshipping idols were also to become extremely numerous.
See:Â Immense Multitudes
It may be that the separate occurrences refer to different stages in the History of the Israelites or perhaps one aspect of the Prophecy was applicable to Judah and another to the Ten Tribes.
The Ten Tribes had a task in history to fulfill and aspects of the blessing given prior to that had to come to past to enable them to fulfill their mission.
The Divine Purpose for the Exile and Division of the Tribes
The Ten Tribes in a spiritual sense were to be cut off from their obligation to keep the commandments and given the same status as non-Israelite gentiles though in the future that will change (Malachi 4:4).
Since the Ten Tribes were no longer obligated by the Law they wouldÂ therefore not be punishable for not keeping it. Judah on the other hand was never disqualified from the Torah and therefore had to bear the punishment when it came. In the future however Judah too will be compensated.
THE RECOMPENSMENT OF JUDAH
Isaiah chapter 49:23 onwards speaks of how God will restore the Jewish people, and vastly multiply their numbers. They shall be honored by rulers of the world, and see their oppressors punished.
23 Kings shall be your foster fathers,
And their queens your nursing mothers;
They shall bow down to you with their faces to the earth,
And lick up the dust of your feet.
Then you will know that I am the Lord,
For they shall not be ashamed who wait for Me.
Those who oppressed the Jews had in effect denied the existence of the LORD God of Israel.Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â
25 But thus says the Lord:
Even the captives of the mighty shall be taken away,
And the prey of the terrible be delivered;
For I will contend with him who contends with you,
And I will save your children.
26 I will feed those who oppress you with their own flesh,
And they shall be drunk with their own blood as with sweet wine.
All flesh shall know
That I, the Lord, am your Savior,
And your Redeemer, the Mighty One of Jacob.
28 And there you will serve gods, the work of men's hands, wood and stone, which neither see nor hear nor eat nor smell. 29 But from there you will seek the Lord your God, and you will find Him if you seek Him with all your heart and with all your soul. 30 When you are in distress, and all these things come upon you in the latter days, when you turn to the Lord your God and obey His voice 31 (for the Lord your God is a merciful God), He will not forsake you nor destroy you, nor forget the covenant of your fathers which He swore to them.
The Sages (see Onkelos) explained that by the Jews being in Exile and subject to the caprices of their non-Jewish idol worshipping hosts it was as if they too worshipped idols.
The Israelites should return to God of Israel. Then it will go well with everybody.
The Expulsion of Foreign Nations
37 And because He loved your fathers, therefore He chose their descendants after them; and He brought you out of Egypt with His Presence, with His mighty power, 38 driving out from before you nations greater and mightier than you, to bring you in, to give you their land as an inheritance, as it is this day.
The British and related colonists of North America subdued numerous Amerindian Nations.Â Some of the Amerindians may have been Hebrews as is frequently claimed. We have supporters and personal friends who are partly Amerindian. NeverthelessÂ most of the American Natives were probably not Israelites but it was descendants of Israel who displaced them. The same applies to Australia and New Zealand and it would also apply to South Africa were it not for the fact that something has gone wrong there. Peoples who probably were of substantial-Israelite origin lost control of South Africa and the whole country has been disintegrating for some time. This should have served as a warning to all of us. Is the USA headed along the same path?Â Will the non-Israelites take control? Have they done so already?
If Only For the Sake of Our Children We should be Good!
39 Therefore know this day, and consider it in your heart, that the Lord Himself is God in heaven above and on the earth beneath; there is no other. 40 You shall therefore keep His statutes and His commandments which I command you today, that it may go well with you and with your children after you, and that you may prolong your days in the land which the Lord your God is giving you for all time.
s3: Deuteronomy 4:41-49
The Eastern Cities of Refuge and the Present-Day Violence of American Culture
Six cities were to be separated as Cities of Refuges for unintentional homicides. Three of these cities were to be east of the Jordan.Â
43 Bezer in the wilderness on the plateau for the Reubenites, Ramoth in Gilead for the Gadites, and Golan in Bashan for the Manassites.
As noted elsewhere, there were three Cities of Refuge east of the Jordan and three to the west, i.e. three for two and a half Tribes (Gad, Reuben and half-Manasseh) and three for 9 and a half ) Judah, Simeon, Benjamin, Ephraim, half-Manasseh,Â Dan, Naphtali, Zebulon, Issachar, Asher). Manasseh had two cities, one on the west side in Schechem and one on the east side in Ramoth of Gilead. The cities were primarily intended for unintentional homicides. Nevertheless such incidents are more liable to occur were there is a propensity for violence. Descendants of Manasseh in Gilead became predominant amongst certain elements in Northern Ireland and Scotland that in turn gave rise to the early settlers of the west and south in the USA where violence was prevalent. This is discussed in our work,
Joseph. The Israelite Destiny of America
[Hosea 6:8] GILEAD IS A CITY OF THEM THAT WORK INIQUITY, AND IS POLLUTED WITH BLOOD. Â