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The order of Moshe’s speech to Bnei Yisrael (short dvar Torah (short vort))

Written by d fine

Devrarim begins the speech that Moshe tells Bnei Yisrael before he dies. In it, Moshe warns Bnei Yisrael to remain loyal to HaShem, and repeats many of the individual mitzvos. The Chizkuni (devarim 11;26) points out that there was a very deliberate order here. Before repeating any of the mitzvos, Moshe first speaks to Bnei Yisrael about the subject of yiras shamayim in general. In fact, it is not until parshas Re’eh that the repetition of individual mitvos begin. The theme is that yiras shamayim is the base for torah and mitzvos, as the gemarra says in a few places (eg shabbes 31a-b). And this is exactly how HaShem ordered proceedings too at mattan torah. First, He showed us the awe-infusing spectacle of har sinai with its thunder and lightning, etc to instill within us a new degree of yiras shamayim, and only then did we get the rest of the indivudial mitzvos (we did get some mitzvos before har sinai; but again this came after witnessing the yirah-inspiring yetzias mitzrayim and yam suf miracles).
The message for us is to do mitzvos, but realise that they go hand in hand with increasing one’s yiras shamayim and awareness of HaShem [hence ‘mitzvos tzrichos kavanah;’ when one is doing a mitzvah they must have the intention of fulfilling a mitzvah of HaShem as He commanded]

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