This Shabbat:

Friday Candle Lighting: 7:38pm
Shabbat Ends: 8:26pm

Torah Message:

A Public Need

“These are the words that Moshe spoke to all Israel…” (1:1)

Why does the Torah stress here that Moshe spoke to “all” Israel. It could equally have written, “…to the Children of Israel” or “…to Israel.” These are alternatives that the Torah itself uses elsewhere.

The Talmud (Mo’ed Katan 21b) explains that Moshe communicated the words of Sefer Devarim, the Mishneh Torah (Repetition of the Torah), three days after the passing of his brother Aharon. The gemara there raises the question how was Moshe — a mourner in the week of shiva — able to learn Torah? The gemara’sanswer is that if there is public need a mourner may learn and teach Torah.

This is why the Torah stresses that Moshe spoke to “all” of Israel — for without being needed by the entire Jewish People he would not have been allowed to learn or teach Torah.