Devarim דְּבָרִים: literally "words")
Torah : Deuteronomy 1:1 - 3:22
Haftarah : Isaiah 1:1-27
Gospel : Acts 1-2

Based on the teachings of the Lubavitcher Rebbe   Courtesy of

Devarim means "Words", and is the name of this week's Torah reading … the first weekly reading in the Book of Devarim (Dueteronomy), the fifth book of

the Torah. Of course, the entire Torah,

at least as it was communicated to us earthly beings, consists of words; but in the Book of Devarim, the nature of these words is of particular significance.

The Book of Devarim is a 37-day long speech by Moses, beginning on the 1st of Shevat and ending on the 7th of Adar -- the day of Moses' passing -- in


year 2488 from creation (1273 bce).

In his speech, Moses recaps the major events and laws that are recorded in the Torah's other four books. Thus, the Book of Devarim is also called Mishneh

Torah, "Repetition of the Torah"

(and hence its Anglicized-Latin name, Deuteronomy, or "Second Law").

Technically, Moses wrote all five books. But as our Sages explain, in the first four books Moses transcribed everything as he received it from G-d, while in

Devarim he says it, "in his own words."

The distinction is clearly seen by the fact that the first four books are written in the third person ("And G-d spoke to Moses, saying"), while in Devarim we

hear Moses' voice in first person

("At that time, G-d said to me", etc.).

Nevertheless, Devarim belongs to what we call the "Written Torah," meaning that not only the content but also the words and letters are considered to be

of Divine origin. Our sages explain that

Moses had so totally abnegated his ego to the Divine will that "The Divine presence spoke from his throat" -- Moses' own words are also God's own words.