Devarim: A Path to Follow

These are the words that Moses spoke to all Israel, on the other side of the Jordan, concerning the Wilderness, concerning Arabah, opposite the Sea of Reeds, between Paran and Tophel, and Laban, and Hazeroth, and Di’zihab; eleven days from Horeb, by way of Mount Seir to Kadesh-barnea.
Devarim/Deuteronomy 1:1-2 (Stone translation)

“These are the words” launches Moses’ long rebuke of the people. The first verse, according to commentaries beginning with the Third Century Sifrei Devarim, uses place names as code for sins:
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Devarim: Something to Notice

“How [‘eikhah] can I bear unaided the trouble of you, and the burden and the bickering!” — Devarim/Deuteronomy 1:12 (JPS translation)

Alter notes the unusual use of “the elongated form ‘eikhah, which often marks the beginning of laments” — instead of the simpler ‘eikh here. Plaut (The Torah: A Modern Commentary) lists two prophecies, in addition to this verse, begin with this elongated form:Continue Reading