The mighty kings Og and Sihon — mentioned in Devarim/Deuteronomy 1:4, with more detail in chapter 3 — were defeated while the Israelites were still in the wilderness (Numbers/Bamidbar 20, 21). But Og and Sihon provide a direct connection to several prayers as well as to contemporary debate about what, more generally, is a “morally uplifting offering” in prayer.
The kings are also linked to midrashim on Genesis and Exodus, and, less directly, to MAZON: A Jewish Response to Hunger and an array of texts through the years. In fact, a brief exploration of Og and Sihon suggests that, as hypothesized about world population, any given Jewish text is no more than six degrees of separation from any other.
“The Amorite who dwell on that mountain went out against you and pursued you as the bees [devorim] would do; they struck you in Seir until Hormah.” — Deuteronomy/Devarim 1:44.
“These are the words that Moses addressed to all Israel….Moses undertook to expound this Teaching.” — Deut./Devarim 1:1, 1:5
“These are the words that Moses addressed to all Israel.” — Deut./Devarim 1:1
“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