A Separate Book by Mitch Levine

(2006/5766) Parshat Devarim is the beginning of the last
book in the Torah.  It starts with “Eilah HaDevarim,”
“these are the words.”  What exactly are these words?
Rashi posits that “the words” are Moshe’s strong words of
rebuke.  Moshe begins his teachings here by subtly
reminding his Bnei Yisrael of their many failures since the
beginning of the Torah.  Ramban offers an alternate
answer, suggesting that “the words” are the
commandments from Perakim 5-26 that form the bulk of
Sefer Devarim.  The first 4 Perakim serve as a preamble to
“the words.”
Rabbi Zalman Sorotzkin presents a third
answer.  He notes that the second, third, and fourth
books of the Torah are connected to Bereishit and to
each other with the letter Vav.  Sefer Devarim, on the
other hand, does not begin with a Vav.  The Torah is
hinting to us that this last book is separate from the other
four.  Furthermore, the content of the last book is
incomparable to that of the others.  Much of Sefer
Devarim is a recounting of the previous four books, which is
why Chazal call Sefer Devarim the “review of the Torah.” 
The only connection that this book has to the other four is
that all five books were written by Moshe in accordance with
what Hashem told him.

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