with commentary by Shira Schechter

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While Jews believe that all 24 books that comprise the Hebrew Bible, known as the “Tanakh,” are the word of God, there is a distinction made when it comes to the first five books of Moses. Known in Hebrew as the “Chumash,” meaning ‘five,’ Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy are on an even higher level, since God communicated each word directly to Moses. In contrast, the 19 books of the Neviim (Prophets) and Ketuvim (Writings) were based on God’s prophetic word to His individual messengers, but written in their language.  This underscores how Moses’ prophecy was unmatched, based on his particularly close relationship with the Almighty, as attested to in Scripture, “Never again has there arisen in Israel a prophet like Moses, whom God had known face to face” (Deuteronomy 34:10). As such, the Book of Deuteronomy, or Devarim, marks the conclusion not only of the Torah part of the Tanakh, but the end of God’s direct word to Moses, and must therefore be mined carefully for its precious lessons.


Written in the last year of the life of Moses, Devarim is a summary of his final lessons to the Jewish people in the Wilderness before they enter the Land of Israel. Hundreds of commandments are repeated and reviewed, some with minor differences that teach important lessons. The quantity and diversity of the various commandments does not distract from one primary theme that is repeated over and over again throughout Devarim, and that is the primacy of the Land of Israel. In one of the most beautiful and incisive descriptions, Moshe describes the Land of Israel unlike anyplace else on earth:


For the land, whither thou goest in to possess it, is not as the land of Egypt, from whence ye came out, where thou didst sow thy seed, and didst water it with thy foot, as a garden of herbs; but the land, whither ye go over to possess it, is a land of hills and valleys, and drinketh water as the rain of heaven cometh down; a land which the LORD thy God careth for; the eyes of the LORD thy God are always upon it, from the beginning of the year even unto the end of the year. (Deuteronomy 11:10-12)


The Land of Israel Bible elucidates the uniqueness of the land featured repeatedly in the Book of Devarim, a land where God’s presence is fully manifest, and where our relationship with Him is more profound and more complete.  May our study of Devarim contribute to our own deeper love of God and the Land of Israel.


–Rabbi Tuly Weisz

Chapters and Commentary

Shira Schechter

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About Shira Schechter

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Shira graduated from Stern College with a BA in Judaic studies and received masters’ degrees in education and Bible from the Azrieli and the Bernard Revel graduate schools of Yeshiva University. Shira also studied at the Yeshiva University Graduate Program for women in Advanced Talmudic Studies, and was a teaching fellow at the Rabbi Soloveitchik Institute in Boston. Prior to making aliyah in 2013, Shira taught Bible to high school students at the Frisch School in Paramus, NJ. She now lives with her family in Ramat Beit Shemesh, Israel.

Email: [email protected]

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Comments ( 4 )

The comments below do not necessarily reflect the beliefs and opinions of The Israel Bible™.

  • The introduction is concise and makes the distinction with the preceding 4 books of Moses clear: a recap of the Commandments, the instructions and the promises with a focus on the promised land to be entered. An interesting scriptural journey I envisage. Shalom.

  • if would like to receive information from the complete israel bible i have to suscribe free or i have to pay if i am jew and i visit the jerusalem post frecuently . could you inform me please if i could get the jerusalem bible by facebook.please thank you very much i expect an answer,

  • yes of course if it is free i want to have conect with you by facebook would i? thank you
    I read and pray with my own sidur sefaradi, I pray the sabbath specially and I used to,pray for my dead family with the kadish . I live neaxt to synagogue paso 423 and i go there specially in the main principals jews festivities,i would lijke to have more information about the torah ,if it is posible iwould you lend me more informationplease. specially I would like to receive tje jerusalem bible by facebook

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