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    Name of the game – D’varim

    The rabbinic name for Sefer D’varim is “Mishneh Torah”, “Repetition of the Torah” (the phrase echoes Deut. 17:18).

    It is explained in part by the fact that some sections of the book are a repetition of earlier sections of the Chumash.

    For example, the Ten Commandments that come in next week’s portion are found originally (though with some differences) in Sefer Sh’mot in Parashat Yitro, and the Tochechah (the blessings and curses) come both at the end of D’varim and at the end of Vayikra, though again with differences.

    There are other specific verses too which reflect earlier passages of the Chumash. But the overarching reason for the title is that this Book is Moses’ farewell summing up of his life’s teaching.

    After all the strenuous years of struggle he asks himself what it was that he tried to convey to the people and puts the headlines into words, “d’varim”.

    He knows he will be unable to go on for ever. He is still energetic, but perhaps he is losing his capacity to bear the human frailties of the people. Someone else will have to take over and build on his foundations.

    Hopefully the people will remember what he tried to give them – if not the discourses and directions that he offered year by year, then at least the main principles summed up in his final speeches.

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