Parsha Talk Devarim 5782 2022

Parsha Talk Devarim with Rabbis Eliot Malomet, Barry Chesler and Jeremy Kalmanofsky. We begin a new book of the Torah this week, Sefer Devarim, the Book of Deuteronomy, which always comes the Shabbat before Tisha B’Av, the 9th of Av. This year Shabbat is actually the 9th of Av, but we postpone the observance of the fast and the mourning rituals that accompany it until Sunday.
A new book of the Torah often begins with great promise, but Rashi notes that the rabbis understand the opening words, “These are the words,” to actually be words of rebuke to B’nai Yisrael. This would make Parashat Devarim [Deuteronomy 1:1–3:22] fitting for the season of national mourning which commenced with the Fast of the 17th of Tammuz [observed this year on July 17th] and culminates with Tisha B’Av. We spend most of our conversation on situating the book in the context of the Torah as a whole and in the context of the life of Moses.
The emphasis on mourning this year speaks to me on a personal level as I (BC) mourn the death of my brother, Bruce Evan Chesler, who departed this world for another early Sunday morning [July 31, 2022]. In order to accommodate the needs of a small but far-flung family, the funeral will take place on Friday, August 5, 2022. Speaking words of Torah with my good friends and colleagues provides comfort for my personal loss as well as for the national loss we remember at this time of year. Shabbat Shalom.