It is in Parshat Chukat that we meet the second generation of the Jewish nation, the one that would conquer the land of Israel. Yet there is precious little to distinguish it from the first. We are not even formally introduced to them. We first meet them at the death of Miriam, the opening scene of this generation, one that we read about after 38 years of silence.
death of Moshe
Imagine being told on your deathbed that your life’s work may be for naught. Moshe Rabbeinu put heart and soul into forming a nation that would set up a model state serving G-d in the land of Israel. He literally gave his life for his people, and yet because of them, was denied his greatest wish. “G-d was angry at me because of you, saying you, too, shall not come there [to the land of Israel]" (Devarim 1:37).
"Eleh Hadevarim, these are the words that Moshe spoke to all of Israel" (Devarim 1:1). In Biblical Hebrew, the word eleh comes to differentiate and distinguish itself from what came beforehand. In this case it serves to mark sefer Devarim as fundamentally different from the other four books of the Torah.
This week's devar Torah is dedicated in honour of the bat mitzvah of Temira Koenig. Mazal tov to her parents, Tali and Jason, and to the entire family. May Temira follow in the footsteps of Miriam, sanctifying the name of G-d in all that she does.