“These are the words that Moses addressed to all Israel….Moses undertook to expound this Teaching.” — Deut./Devarim 1:1, 1:5

For an interesting discussion of the concept of “mishneh Torah” –repeating or teaching Torah — as it relates to the book of Devarim/Deuteronomy, see The philosophy of the Bible as foundation of Jewish culture, by Eliezer Schweid.

Moses thus intended to set in motion a spiritual process different from the one that resulted from his legislation in the wilderness — a process of in-depth study that takes place only through oral discourse fostering an inward relation between speaker and listener, that includes also mutual attentiveness, consideration for the problems and questions of the listener, and in this sense includes the beginning of conversation, for the speaker situates himself in the circle of interest of his listener. How is it possible to transmit instruction of this kind to generations yet unborn at the time of that gathering?…

To achieve this, it is not enough to convey Moses’ words. The scribe considered it necessary to reconstruct the convocation himself in order to preserve it in the memory of the generation…
–pp.109-110, The Philosophy of the Bible as Foundation of Jewish Culture

Schweid, winner of the 1994 Israeli Prize and professor emeritus at Hebrew University of Jerusalem, is a prolific writer on bible, ethics and the relationship of religion and culture; many of his works are available in English. Leonard Levin, professor at the Jewish Theological Seminary in New York — who also helped translate Abraham Joshua Heschel’s Heavenly Torah — provides an engaging translation, available in English (2008) through Academic Studies Press.

Posted by vspatz

Virginia blogs on Jewish topics at "A Song Every Day" and manages the Education Town Hall and #WeLuvBooks sites. More at Vspatz.wordpress.com

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