Moshe’s set of long speeches fill the entire Book of Devarim – a total of 11 Parshiyos. This book, our wise Sages tell us, is also called Mishneh Torah, meaning “a repetition, or a review, of the Torah”. You may have seen this hard-to-pronounce word – Deuteronomy – it’s from ancient Greek, meaning “second law.” Get the idea? Deuteronomy is Mishneh Torah!
Time for a great question presented with a true Shazak Scenario:
Berel Booklover walks into his local bookstore in Boston and buys two copies of “Out of Egypt.” He pays for them and runs home, super-excited to read the book, check out the fun pictures, find out all about the Passover story, and last but not least, test his knowledge with the amusing and challenging Quizzers.
Berel B. opens the front door to his house. “Hi everyone, I’m home!” he shouts, “I have the Out of Egypt book… and not just one book – I bought two books!”
“Great! Is one book a present for me?!” asked Berel’s sister, Bella. “For my birthday that’s only 3 months and 12 days away? How thoughtful of you!”
“No. They’re not for you, Bella. They’re both for me,” snapped Berel.
“But why two books for yourself? All you need is one!” protested Bella.
“Silly you… I bought two books because I plan on reading Out of Egypt twice!”
“But, but, but… Berel,” Bella bellowed. “You’re the silly one, not me. You don’t need two of the same books to read it twice… just flip back the pages to the beginning and read the first book again!”
Berel got the message, so he decided to give the second “Out of Egypt” book to his best friend, Baruch Bookstein from Brooklyn.
Now, back to our Parsha:
If the Book of Devarim is nothing more than Moshe’s repetition of the same events in the previous books, why did he give us this 5th book? Why can’t we just flip the pages back, just like Berel Booklover did, and read those episodes again?
So, hold tight for the answer… which may come to you as a big surprise!