Parshas Devarim
Deuteronomy 1:1 -3:22
A Cocoon In the Desert ©
By Dr. Akiva G. Belk

This study of the weekly parsha is dedicated in the loving memory of Ms. Fredriqua Ann Brown, may she rest in peace.

Judaism on the surface may give the impression that Jews are required to leave so much behind. It may appear like we are required to miss out on so mannnnnnnny of the seemingly gooooood things available in this world. Yet that may not be the case at all.

In this week's parsha, after forty years of living in the BaMidbar and after living at the foot of the mountain {Har Sinai}, we are instructed by Hashem, "Enough of your living at this mountain!" Deuteronomy 1:6

We were told to leave Har Horeb / Sinai... We were instructed to leave....
the mountain where Moshe pastured his flock of sheep {Exodus 3:1}...

The Sinai Desert where we first stopped exactly one month, sixty-two meals {according to Rashi} after fleeing Mitzriam {Exodus 16:1}...


Leaving the place where we first received manna... {Exodus 16:12}... The Torah relates, "B'nei Yisroel ate manna for forty years, until they came to an inhabited land. They ate the manna until they came to the edge of the land of Canaan" {Exodus 16:35} where Moshe died on the seventh of Adar and manna ceased. {see Rashi, Ex. 16:35}

Leaving the place where we first learned about separating the seventh day from the other six days {Exodus 16:22-31}...

Leaving the place, Rephidim, {in the desert of Sinai} where there was no water next to Har Horeb, where Moshe struck the rock and water gushed forth... {Exodus 17:1-6}

Leaving the hill {on Har Horeb} that Moshe ascended overlooking the place where Amalek first attacked B'nei Yisroel... {Exodus 17:8 -16}

Leaving the place where Yethro, Moshe's father-in-law, converted to Judaism... {Exodus 18:9-12}

Leaving the place where the leaders of thousands, the leaders of hundreds, the leaders of fifties and the leaders of tens were appointed... {Exodus 18:17-24}

Leaving the place where we became a kingdom of Kohanim and a holy {separated} nation... Exodus 19:6

Leaving the place where there was thunder and lightning, {where there was} a heavy cloud on the mountain, and there was a very loud sound of the shofar... {Exodus 19:16} .. Where the sound of the shofar grew louder and louder...{Exodus 19:19}

Leaving the place where Hashem descended on Mount Sinai... {Exodus 19:20}

Leaving the place where we heard the voice of G-d giving us the Torah... {Exodus 20:1}

Leaving the place where we received the Ten Commands... {Exodus 20:2-14}

Leaving the place where Moshe ascended the Mountain to receive the Torah... Exodus 20:18

Leaving the place where we received the Torah...

Leaving the place of the terumah offering... Exodus 25:1

Leaving the place where the Mishkon was constructed and placed into use... Exodus 40:17,34-36

Leaving the place where the Aron Ha Kodesh was constructed and placed into use ... Exodus 40:21 and Leviticus 8:10

Leaving the place where the Shool Chawn {Table of Show Bread} was constructed and placed into use... Exodus 40:22,23

Leaving the place where the Menorah was constructed and placed into use... Exodus 40:24,25

Leaving the place where the Pure Olive Oil was prepared for light... Exodus 27:20

Leaving the place where the Misbayach {the Altar} was constructed and placed into use... Exodus 40:26

Leaving the place where The Eiphod and Breastplate were created and placed into use...

Leaving the place where the Garments for the Kohen Godal and the Kohanim were created and placed into use... Exodus 28:1-43

Leaving the place of Consecration of the Kohen Godal, the Kohanim and B'nei Yisroel...Exodus 28:1,2 and Leviticus 8:24 - 9:24

Leaving the place of sin, the molten calf... Exodus 22: 1-35

Leaving the place where we saw a vision of Hashem's Glory... Exodus 34:6-9

Leaving the place of sacrifice... Leviticus 8:15-32

Leaving the place of death for Aharon's sons, Nodov and Avihu... Leviticus 10:1


Dear reader, holy reader, leaving Har Horeb / Sinai was NOT like leaving a bad marriage or a place of horrible employment. It was NOT like running away from home. Har Horeb / Sinai was the place of Hashem's presence. It was the place of great benefit, where water flowed from the rock and manna fell from the sky. It was the place where there was no need to worry about tomorrow.

Many children were born at the foot of Har Horeb / Sinai... Many marriages were consummated at the foot of Har Horeb / Sinai... Many relatives were buried in this vicinity...

Why would one leave such a place?

Holy reader, this was the place of preparation for us, the bride, B'nei Yisroel... We were preparing to enter our new home after our marriage... We were making ready for our separation unto Hashem ONLY as a nation living in Eretz Yisroel.

Dear reader, when we go through much in this life it is often for the same purpose. It is in preparation of the honor we are about to receive. It is like a rounded rock in a river whose jagged edges have been smoothed over by the years of tossing stones and water. Once our vessel has finally reached the place of separation required by Hashem, we then are ready for our purpose in life. So in actuality we are not leaving the cocoon, but we are entering the world the cocoon prepared us for. Holy reader, we were only leaving our cocoon...

Wishing you the best,

Dr. Akiva G. Belk

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