On the first of Shevat (thirty-seven days before his passing), Moshe begins his repetition of the Torah to the assembled children of Israel, reviewing the events that occurred and the laws that were given in the course of their forty-year journey from Egypt to Sinai to the Promised Land, rebuking the people for their failings and iniquities, and enjoining them to keep the Torah and observe its commandments in the land that Hashem is giving them as an eternal heritage, into which they shall cross after his death.
Moshe recalls his appointment of judges and magistrates to ease his burden of meting out justice to the people and teaching them the word of Hashem; the journey from Sinai through the great and fearsome desert; the sending of the spies and the people’s subsequent spurning of the Promised Land, so that Hashem decreed that the entire generation of the Exodus would die out in the desert. “Also against me,” says Moshe, “was Hashem angry for your sake, saying: You, too, shall not go in there.”
Moshe also recounts some more recent events: the refusal of the nations of Moav and Ammon to allow the Israelites to pass through their countries; the wars against the Emorite kings Sichon and Og, and the settlement of their lands by the tribes of Reuven and Gad and part of the tribe of Menashe; and Moshe’s message to his successor, Yeoshua, who will take the people into the Land and lead them in the battles for its conquest: “Fear them not, for the Lrd your Hashem, He shall fight for you.”
"And you must remember the entire road which Hashem, your G-d, brought you these forty years in the wilderness" (Devarim 8:2)
This weeks parsha, and throughout the last book of the Torah, is a review that Moshe gives the nation, shortly before he dies and the nations enters Eretz Yisroel.
Moshe began by reviewing their journey with them, what Hashem did for them, and the lessons and Torah that they learned.
Rav Avigdor Miller teaches that this act of reviewing, in of itself is something to learn from. A Ben Torah with a beautiful family should ask himself; how did I get to this spot? What are the steps that Hashem took for me to bring me to this success in life? So many of my contemporaries took the wrong step at the wrong time in the wrong direction and they went lost. One wrong step is all it takes, but it did not happen to me. How did Hashem guide my steps?
I was spoke to someonet this past week. We were discussing where we came from and where we ended up. We spoke of friends who went this way and that. Neither one of us expected to be where we are today. It’s quite an amazing thing to look back and see how Hashem has directed your life.
Moshe reminded the nation of their personal history in order that they should remember where they came from, where they are today, and how Hashem guided them. With this 'history lesson' they were better able to understand Hashem's interaction with their lives, and be able to praise Him for all the goodness He gave them. We see this concept written in Ashrei: "They will speak when they remember Your great goodness, and Your righteousness they will sing exultantly" (Tehillim 145:7)
When we realize that Hashem has guided us throughout our lives, and properly thank Him, Hashem will say, "Ah, I see with this person it is a good investment. If he praises and thanks Me for all the good I do for him, then I will give him even more!"
Have a great Shabbos!