A Life Lesson from Devarim

The Book of Devarim teaches us a very important life lesson about overcoming challenges and obstacles.

Devarim is different than the other five books of the torah because it is a monologue spoken by Moses during the last few days of his life, while the Jewish People were camped in the Plains of Moab on the eastern side of the Jordan River across of Jericho. In this book Moses explains, reviews and expounds upon the commandments and events recorded in the previous four books of the Torah. That is why the Book of Devarim is also called Mishneh Torah — the repetition of the Torah.

There are countless lessons and teachings we can learn from Devarim, but the lesson I’d like to focus on is the fact that the entire book is a monologue given by Moses. Yes, he’s the same Moses who stuttered so badly that he initially refused to follow God’s command for him to speak to Pharaoh to let the Jews out of Egypt. His stutter paralyzed him from acting, and only when God told him that Aaron would speak to Pharaoh for him did he agree to be the savior of his people.

But 40 years later we find Moses, in the Book of Devarim, delivering a speech several days long to the entire nation. What a change!

The lesson here is not that Moses underwent some miraculous event that cured his stutter. Rather, Moses faced his challenge and overcame it. It took him many years to do it, and it most likely was a mighty struggle, but in the end he succeeded in overcoming his challenge.

The truth is, all of our Patriarchs and Matriarchs and many of our greatest Jewish figures faced challenges and impediments that could have defeated and destroyed them. Abraham and Sarah could not bear children until they were in the nineties and hundreds. Isaac and Rebecca were barren for 20 years before they gave birth. Jacob had to work for Laban for over 20 years away from his home, and then he was faced with the death of his beloved Rachel and later the disappearance of his son Josef. Go through a list of Jewish heroes and role models and you will find people who faced immense challenges.

Why, then, did God give these people such challenges? To teach us that just like they overcame their challenges, so too does each of us have the power to overcome our own challenges.

In the Book of Devarim Moses teaches us that a person can overcome even the greatest challenge and obstacle. It might take years of hard work, but in the end, we can succeed.


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