Parsha Talk – Devarim

The boys are back! Rabbis Eliot Malomet and Jeremy Kalmanofsky and and I Barry Chesler, have taken our show on the road, as it were. A longstanding highlight of the camp week, Parashah Talk, now is available on Facebook and on Kol Ramah, 102.3 FM on your FM dial [when camp is in session and you are in the vicinity of Wingdale, NY] and on the World Wide Web at

This week we begin reading the 5th and final book of the Torah, Sefer D’varim, the Book of Deuteronomy. We spend some time talking about the setting and significance of the book as well as discuss the upcoming fast day of Tisha B’Av [the 9th of the Hebrew month Av, observed Wednesday evening and Thursday, July 29-30], which has become a national day of mourning for the Jewish People.

The other name for Sefer Devarim in Hebrew is Mishneh Torah, often translated as 2nd Torah, since Deuteronomy recapitulates a number of laws and events from Exodus, Leviticus, and Numbers, in addition to providing fresh material. When Rambam [Moses Maimonides, 1138-1204] wrote his distillation of the Oral Law, he called it Mishneh Torah, since the Oral Law was the 2nd Law revealed at Mt. Sinai, together with the Written Law, the 5 Books of Moses. We might understand Sefer Devarim as a kind of Oral Torah to the Written Torah of the first four books. This is but one reason why I think it is hard not to love the book! Happy listening!