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Devarim

  
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 1:1
 1:2
1:1 First Reading
These are the words that Moses spoke to all Israel on the east bank of the Jordan, in the desert [and] in the Aravah, near Suf, in the vicinity of Paran, Tofel, Lavan, Chatzeroth and Di Zahav.
Eleh hadevarim asher diber Moshe el-kol-Yisra'el be'ever haYarden bamidbar ba'Aravah mol Suf beyn-Paran uveyn-Tofel veLavan vaChatserot veDi Zahav.
1:2 [This is in the area] which is an eleven day journey from Horeb to Kadesh Barnea by way of the Seir highlands.
Achad asar yom meChorev derech har-Se'ir ad Kadesh Barnea.



Commentary:

to all Israel
  Although Moses taught the Israelites many things, most were taught through Aaron and the elders (Eruvim 54b). From here until Deuteronomy 4:49, however, there are presented orations that Moses himself delivered to all Israel (Ramban; Chizzkuni; Adereth Eliahu; Malbim; HaKethav VeHaKabbalah). These orations were stated in the places mentioned in this verse.

east bank
  Literally, 'far side.'

in
  Or, 'regarding' (Targum; Rashi; Ralbag). Some say that Moses named areas around the Israelite camp after events that had happened to them earlier (Hirsch).

the desert
  See Deuteronomy 1:9-14, 1:16,17.

Aravah
  This is the deep valley running to the north and south of the Dead Sea. Specifically, it usually denotes the valley to the south, leading to the Gulf of Aqaba (see Deuteronomy 2:8; Chizzkuni).

Suf
  Many sources identify this with the Yam Suf, the 'Reed Sea,' the 'Southern Sea,' or the 'Red Sea,' possibly identified here with the Gulf of Aqaba (Targum; Rashi; Saadia; Septuagint). It may also be identified with Sufah in Numbers 21:14.

vicinity of
  Or, literally, 'between.' or, '[and] in the vicinity.'

Paran
  The area to the north of Sinai and west of the Aravah, now known as the wilderness of el-Tih. The reference is most probably to Rithmah (Numbers 33:18), or Kadesh Barnea (Numbers 13:3), the place from which the spies were sent (Rashi). The reference would then be to Deuteronomy 1:20,21, 1:29-33.

The context then seems to indicate that the Aravah and Suf were places between Sinai and Kadesh Barnea. It appears that instead of heading directly north, the Israelites took a roundabout way to Kadesh Barnea through the Aravah passing by the Gulf of Aquaba (Suf). Some say that this was when Moses appointed judges in Deuteronomy 1:16,17 (cf. Adereth Eliahu ad loc.). Suf might then have been Kivroth HaTaavah (Numbers 11:34) along the west shore of the Gulf of Aqaba. See note on 'Tofel' below.

Tofel
  Some say that Suf was between Paran and Tofel, where Tofel is identified with the Kivroth HaTaavah area (Sifri; Rashi). Others say that it is in the area of Shittim, perhaps where the Tabernacle stood (Ralbag). Others identify it with Marah (Paaneach Razah). The Septuagint notes that Tofel was in the Paran Desert. Some sources identify it with el Tafile, a village about 15 miles southwest of the Dead Sea.

Lavan
  Some say that this was the place of Korach's rebellion (Ralbag). Others identify it with the place where there were complaints about the Manna (Sifri; Rabbi; cf. Numbers 11:6). It is also possibly identified with Livnah in Numbers 33:20.

Chatzeroth
  See Numbers 11:35, 33:17. Some say that this was the place of Korach's rebellion (Rashi; Lekach Tov; Chizzkuni).

Di Zahav
  A place name (Ibn Ezra; Abarbanel). Some say that it was the area where the Golden Calf was built (Targum; Sifri; Berakhoth 32a; Rashi). Others identify it as the area where the Tabernacle stood (Paaneach Razah). The Septuagint translates it as katachrusea, literally, 'the gold works.'

There are a number of possible interpretations regarding these place names: 1. That they are places surrounding the Aravoth Moab where the Israelites were now camped. 2. That they were places along the way, where Moses presented these orations to Israel (the interpretation favored in our translation). 3. That they were places regarding which Moses spoke in his orations.

This is in the area
  Following the second interpretation above, all these places were in that area. (cf. Chizzkuni; Abarbanel).

eleven day journey
  The distance between Sinai and Kadesh Barnea is actually 150 miles.

Horeb
  Sinai, see note on Exodus 3:1.

Kadesh Barnea
  See note on Numbers 13:3.





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