We are in the Book of Deuteronomy. That means the new year will soon be upon us.
Deuteronomy is kind of a summing up of all that has gone before in the first four books of the Torah. Moses is speaking, and he is reviewing what has gone before.
In this parsha, he talks about the people, saying “See, I give before you the land. Enter, possess it. Here you are, so many, “like the stars in the heavens”
He reminds the people of how he had appointed judges, a little like our judicial system. It had layers of authority: “rulers of thousands, rulers of hundreds, rulers of fifties and rulers of tens.” It’s similar in that we have layers too. In New York, you can bring your case to the County Court, then the Supreme Court, then the Court of Appeals. It’s also similar in that judges are told to hear out the small and the great, and not to fear anyone.
Then Moses refers to a touchy subject. He reminds the people that he had sent out twelve spies who said the land was good. But the people were not willing to go. “Where are we going to?” they said. There are giants there! Moses told them that God will wage war for them, but they showed no trust in God.
God was furious and said only Caleb and Joshua would get to go into the land. I’ll give the land to your children, he says (and not to you.)
Everybody felt bad then, and they tried to go and wage war. But God said to Moses “You are not to wage war for I am not in your midst. You will be clobbered before your enemies.”
And sure enough…
Food for Thought
The Children of Israel went into battle because they were sorry. Do you think it was fair of God to let them be defeated?