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Torah 101-Vaetchanan Portion




1) Question for Deuteronomy 1:

How do details in this chapter help support the location of the real Mount Sinai?
ACHAD ASAR YOM (1:2) = 11 day journey, from Mount Sinai to Kadesh Barnea.
Although many scholars believe a place called Ain el-Qudeirat is Kadesh Barnea, I
have sided with Josephus on this point, and would put Kadesh in the vicinity of Petra,
Now when this purification, which their leader made upon the mourning for
his sister, as it has been now described, was over, he caused the host to move
and to march through the wilderness and through Arabia; and when he
came to a place which the Arabians esteem their metropolis, which was
formerly called Arce, but has now the name of Petra
As we have talked about a few times recently, Arabia is not confined to Saudi Arabia
but is also the name of the first region the Israelites encountered after leaving Egypt,
meaning the Sinai Peninsula. Every major historian from Herodotus, to Strabo and even
the Rav Shaul understood this geography for greater Arabia, and all agree Petra is in
modern day Jordan. Continuing
at this place, which was surrounded with high mountains, Aaron went up one of
them in the sight of the whole host, Moses having before told him that he was to
die, for this place was opposite them. He put off his pontifical garments, and
delivered them to Eleazar his son, to whom the high priesthood belonged, because
he was the older brother; and died while the multitude looked upon him.
He died in the same year wherein he lost his sister, having lived in all a hundred
twenty and three years. He died on the first day of that lunar month which is
called by the Athenians Hekatombaion, by the Macedonians Loos, but by the
Hebrews Ab. The people mourned for Aaron thirty days, and when this mourning
was over, Moses moved the people from that place, and came to the river
Arnon, which, issuing out of the mountains of Arabia, and running through
all that wilderness, falls into the Dead Sea, and becomes the limit between the
land of the Moabites and the land of the Amorites. This land is fruitful, and
sufficient to maintain a great number of men, with the good things it produces.
(Antiquities, 4:82-85)
Here are geographical markers that can only be referring to Jordan, and 11 days journey
puts the entire geography in the Sinai Peninsula again.

Next though we need to see how to understand what 11 days journey translates to in
terms of miles Israel did each day. When the Torah tells us for example that the Israelites
are in an actual march (e.g. Exodus 16:1), this is pointing to their conditions on the
ground, travelling with women, children, the elderly and a lot of animals. All those
factors will slow their journey down between 6 and 8 miles a day.
However, when its a theoretical journey this is put in more idealized terms, such as the
speed at which an army in prime condition can move without respect to other people or
flocks. In that situation, Israel can travel up to 15 miles per day.
To think about it another way, if I say that I am planning to drive to New York from my
home here in Georgia, I do a search and find out it will take about 18 hours to get there
from my location. But that 18 hour estimate assumes I never stop for gas, never take a
bathroom break and never pull into a restaurant for food. So the 18 hours is my idealized
journey, but my actual journey may be significantly longer than this. In the same way,
Deuteronomy 1:2 is giving us the idealized journey, the army marching fast at 15 hours
per day.
Another factor is that the Israelites will not march on Shabbat, which eliminates at least
one and possibly two of the 11 days for traveling. Ill be conservative and assume there
are 2 Shabbats, leaving 9 travel days which, when multiplied by 15, gives us a maximum
range of 141 miles. From here, lets plug in the coordinates:
Petra Jordan: 3020'N: 3522'E
Mount Saniya [near Serabit el Khadim]: 29212N 332733E
Result according to the National Weather Service
( 113 standard miles
This reading puts us within about 3 miles of Mount Saniyah, and therefore the distance is
well within the capability of an idealized Israelite journey. They could have actually
made it travelling 9 days at 12 miles a day, or in 7 days travelling at 15 miles per
AravahElathEtzyon Gever, going south of the Dead Sea, and Elath and these other
places clearly indicates a Gulf of Aqaba crossing (comp. 1 Kings 9:26, 2 King 14:22).

2) Question for Deuteronomy 2:

What is the total period of time documented throughout the Torah and confirmed in
this chapter for the interval between Exodus and the start of the entrance into Canaan?



NISHBAH YAHWEH LAHEM (2:14) = From the time that we left Kadesh Barnea
until we crossed the Zered Brook, 38 years had passed during which the generation of
warriors had died out from the camp, as Yahweh had sworn. This confirms the overall
timeline of 42 years from Exodus to the Jericho campaign.
The math is simple. The spies came back with a bad report 2 full years after Exodus
(Numbers 1:1, 9:1) or into year 3 if you prefer. It takes 38 years from that event in
Kadesh-Barnea to cross the Brook of Zered, which is confirmed as the 40th year after
Exodus (Numbers 20:1, 33:38).
Then, when Deuteronomy opens (1:3) it is still 11 months after that, followed by
Moshes death and mourning for him for another 30 days (Deuteronomy 34:8),
ending the 12th month by that time.
That brings us to the completion of year 40 and the start of year 41, but this is only 39
years completed of a 40 year curse leveled in Numbers 14, so Joshua now must wait
another year before attacking Jericho that next spring. Total: 42 years.
3) Question for Deuteronomy 3:
Why doesnt Moshe emphasize the specific idolatrous sins of Israel when summing
up the last 40 years?
As the editors of Stone Chumash rightly point out, Moshes overall point is to warn
Israel that if their fathers sinned when the signs and wonders of YHWH were present
all the time, how could a new generation who never saw any of this fare any better?
Nevertheless, Moshe doesnt want to offend those listening who were born after
much of the apostasy had happened. For those who were alive from that time, just
mentioning the place names was enough of a rebukesome rabbis think Moshe
named some of those places after the sins that took place there. For those who were
not there, a broad recap was fine, so long as they were taught later about the sins of
their fathers.
4) Haftorah Question of the Week: Isaiah 1:1-28
Which NT writer seems to draw the most on the themes in Yeshayahu (Isaiah)
chapter 1? I will give you my opinion.
I believe this chapter is most discussed by Yaakov ha Tzadik, or James the Just.
I tracked the following concordances

Isaiah chapter 1
Learn to do good, search


Epistle of Yaakov
(Jas 1:27) For the worship

Common Themes
Defend the helpless and

for justice, discipline the

violent, be just to the
orphan, plead for the


Your silver has turned

into dross, your wine is

Your princes are rebels,

accomplices of brigands.
All of them greedy for
presents and eager for
bribes, they show no justice
to the orphan, and the
widow's cause never
reaches them.

Hence, the Lord Yahweh

Sabaoth, the Mighty One of
Israel, says this, 'Disaster, I
shall get the better of my
enemies, I shall avenge
myself on my foes.

Where shall I strike you

next, if you persist in
treason? The whole head is
sick, the whole heart is

from the sole of the foot

to the head there is nothing
healthy: only wounds,
bruises and open sores not
dressed, not bandaged, not
soothed with ointment,

your country a desolation,

your towns burnt down,
your soil, foreigners lay it
waste before your eyes, a
desolation like devastation

that is pure and Set Apart

before Elohim the Father, is
this: to visit the fatherless
and the widows in their
affliction; and: that one
keep himself without
blemish from the world.

disadvantaged as examples
of proper faith and fruits of
the Ruach.

(Jas 2:5) Hear, my beloved

Brothers; has not Elohim
chosen the poor of the
world, the rich in faith, to
be heirs in the Kingdom
which Elohim has promised
to them that love him?

Dont trust the rich and

powerful as they exploit the
poor for their own greedy

(Jas 2:6) But you have

despised the poor man. Do
not rich men exalt
themselves over you and
drag you before the
(Jas 2:7) Do they not hate
that worthy Name,6 which
is invoked upon you?
(Jas 5:1) O you rich ones,
wail and weep on account
of the miseries that are
coming upon you.
(Jas 5:2) For your wealth is
spoiled and rotten; and your
garments are moth-eaten:
(Jas 5:3) and your gold and
your silver have rusted
through; and the rust of
them will be a testimony
against you; and it will
devour your flesh. You
have heaped up a fire to you
against the latter days.
(Jas 5:4) Behold, the wages

by foreigners.

The daughter of Zion is

left like a shanty in a
vineyard, like a shed in a
cucumber field, like a city

of the laborers who have

reaped your ground, which
you have criminally
withheld, shouts out; and
the shouting of the reapers
has entered the ears of
Master YHWH Tzva'ot.

Had Yahweh Sabaoth not

left us a few survivors, we
should be like Sodom, we
should be the same as


But if you refuse and

rebel, the sword shall eat
you instead -- for Yahweh's
mouth has spoken.'

(Jas 3:14) But if bitter envy

be in you, or contention in
your hearts, do not exalt
yourselves against the truth
and do not lie.

Rebellion leads to


'I shall turn my hand

against you, I shall purge
your dross as though with
potash, I shall remove all
your alloy.

(Jas 3:15) For this wisdom

comes not down from
above; but is earthly, and
from the devices of the soul,
and from demons.
(Jas 3:16) For where envy
and disputation are, there
also is confusion and
everything wrong.


Hear what Yahweh says,

you rulers of Sodom; listen
to what our God teaches,
you people of Gomorrah.

(Jas 2:14) What is the use,

Faith without works is dead.
my Brothers, if a man say,
Works without faith is
"I have faith," and he has no meaningless.
works? Can his "faith"
resurrect him?7


'What are your endless

sacrifices to me?' says
Yahweh. 'I am sick of burnt
offerings of rams and the fat
of calves. I take no pleasure
in the blood of bulls and

(Jas 2:15) Or if a brother or

sister be naked, and
destitute of daily food,
(Jas 2:16) and one of you

lambs and goats.


When you come and

present yourselves before
me, who has asked you to
trample through my courts?

Bring no more futile

cereal offerings, the smoke
from them fills me with
disgust. New Moons,
Sabbaths, assemblies -- I
cannot endure solemnity
combined with guilt.

Your New Moons and

your meetings I utterly
detest; to me they are a
burden I am tired of

say to them, "Go in peace,

warm yourselves, and be
full;" and you do not give
them the necessities of the
body, what is the use?
(Jas 2:17) So also faith
alone, without works, is
(Jas 2:18) For a man may
say, you have faith and I
have works; show to me
your faith that is without
works and I will show to
you my faith by my works.
(Jas 2:19) You believe that
there is one Elohim; you do
well; the demons also
believe and tremble.
(Jas 2:20) Would you
know, O weak man, that
faith without works is dead?
(Jas 2:21) Awraham our
father, was not he justified
by works8 in offering his
son Yitz'chak9 upon the
(Jas 2:22) Do you realize
that his faith aided his
works, and that by the
works his faith was
rendered complete?

Listen, you heavens; earth,

attend, for Yahweh is
speaking, 'I have reared
children and brought them
up, but they have rebelled
against me.

The ox knows its owner


(Jas 2:10) For he that will

keep the whole Torah and
yet fail in one aspect of it, is
an enemy to the whole
(Jas 2:11) For he who said,
"You will not commit

The world is full of blind

and rebellious people who
will cheat and kill because
of their wickedness.

and the donkey its master's

crib; Israel does not know,
my people do not

Disaster, sinful nation,

people weighed down with
guilt, race of wrong-doers,
perverted children! They
have abandoned Yahweh,
despised the Holy One of
Israel, they have turned
away from him.

When you stretch out

your hands I turn my eyes
away. You may multiply
your prayers, I shall not be
listening. Your hands are
covered in blood.

adultery," Exo 20:14, Deu 5:18

said also, "You will not
kill." Exo 20:13, Deu 5:17 If then
you commit no adultery, but
you do murder, you have
become a defiler of Torah.
(Jas 4:1) From where is it,
that there are among you
arguments and conflicts? Is
it not from the lusts which
war in your members?
(Jas 4:2) You covet but do
not possess; and you kill
and envy, and effect
nothing: and you fight and
make attacks; and you do
not have, because you do
not ask.
(Jas 4:3) You ask, and do
not receive because you ask
wickedly, that you may feed
your lusts.
(Jas 4:4) You adulterers,
don't you know that the love
of the world is hatred
towards Elohim? He
therefore who chooses to be
a lover of this world is the
enemy of Elohim.
(Jas 4:5) Or do you think
that the Scripture has vainly
said: The spirit dwelling in
us lusts with envy?


wash, make yourselves

clean. Take your wrongdoing out of my sight.
Cease doing evil.


(Jas 1:21) And so, throw all You must cleanse yourself
that is defiled and the
from all sin.
myriads of evil things far
away from yourselves and
with meekness, receive the
Word that is implanted in

our nature which is able to

resurrect your souls.

If you are willing to obey, (Jas 1:25) But everyone

you shall eat the good
that looks upon the perfect
things of the earth.
Torah of liberty and lives
fully in it, is not a hearer of
something to be forgotten,
but a doer5 of the things;
and he will be blessed in his

Obedience to YHWHs
laws brings blessings and


Abba YHWH will provide

restoration and proper
judgment in all things.

'And I shall restore your

judges as at first, your
counselors as in bygone
days, after which you will
be called City of Saving
Justice, Faithful City.'

Zion will be redeemed by

fair judgment, and those
who return, by saving

The faithful city, what a

harlot she has become!
Zion, once full of fair
judgment, where saving
justice used to dwell, but
now assassins!

(Jas 2:13) For judgment

without mercy will be on
him who has practiced no
mercy: by mercy, you will
be raised above judgment.
(Jas 4:6) But our Master
(Y'shua) has given us more
grace. Therefore he said:
Master YHWH brings low
the arrogant, and gives
grace to the humble.
(Jas 5:5) For you have
lived in pleasure on the
earth, and reveled and
feasted your bodies as in a
day of slaughter.

For those whom Abba

YHWH had the greatest
hope for bringing light and
doing good, they have now
become murderers and

(Jas 5:6) You have

condemned and murdered
the just, and none prevented

'Come, let us talk this

over,' says Yahweh.
'Though your sins are like
scarlet, they shall be white
as snow; though they are
red as crimson, they shall be
like wool.


(Jas 3:13) Who is wise and

instructed among you? Let
him show his works in
praiseworthy actions, with
modest wisdom.
(Jas 4:8) Draw near to
Elohim and He will draw
near to you. Cleanse your
hands, you sinners: sanctify

Engage Abba YHWH in

sincere dialogue, as those
who are wise always do, to
examine and improve
themselves. Then He will
forgive and restore you.

your hearts, you who are

divided in mind.19
(Jas 4:10) Humble
yourselves before Master
YHWH and He will exalt




Please NOTE:

For clarity and time constraints, if I elect to not read the whole parsha (which
is the case this week) I may still ask questions relating to the portions I did not
5) Question for Deuteronomy 3:22-4:49:
This part of the parsha contains a command not to add to the words that are
being spoken. How do we reconcile this command with the fact that there are
34 other Tanakh books and 27 more NT books that will add words to this
Scripture, in addition to about 30 more chapters of added words in
6) Question for Deuteronomy 5:
What is the difference between Abba YHWH being jealous and the human
variety of that emotion?
7) Question for Deuteronomy 6:1-7:11:
What Hebrew phrase here does Yshua repeat nearly verbatim in his Aramaic
8) Haftorah Question of the Week: Isaiah 40:1-26
What Hebrew phrase here is replicated by another NT figure in their Aramaic
dialect and who is that person?
9) Renewed Covenant Commentary: Matthew 4:1-11
Matthew 4:4
37) Y'shua declares that he himself, along with all of mankind, is required to
live by the "Words" of YHWH, and that the Commandments Y'shua teaches
are in fact YHWH's Commandments from Torah. However, Greek/English
translators inserted the title Kurios/Lord, for both YHWH and Y'shua, rather
than using original Names. Christian theologians then began teaching the
fallacy that their "New Testaments" were the "new" Word, or new
"Commandments of Y'shua" that replaced the original Word of YHWH,
which is Torah. See Joh_8:36 (Joh_8:47); Joh_12:48-50; Joh_13:34;
Joh_14:10-21; 1Jn_2:3-8; 2Jn_1:5-6.

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38) Deu_8:3
Matthew 4:5
39) Khabouris has Akelqarza as one word (as does Mat_8:11) whereas 1905
uses the separated spelling Akel Qarza. There is no difference in meaning; the
1905 spelling convention is preferred. This is the general rule that will be
followed, including Mat_4:19 where 1905 combines benayanash whereas
Khabouris separates them. Mat_6:1 reverses these choices on this phrase
proving either form interchangeable.
40) A dark foreshadowing of the martyrdom of Ya'akov HaTsaddiq (James
the Just) brother of Y'shua. Ya'akov, who routinely prayed at the Temple to
ask YHWH's forgiveness for the sins of his people, was highly regarded for
his meekness, devotion and service to the Jewish people. It was said that
Ya'akov had camel's knees because he very often prayed while on his knees.
He was ultimately thrown off the top of the Temple by demonized religious
fanatics because of his allegiance to Y'shua Mashiyach. Ya'akov taught that
Y'shua is the Arm of YHWH revealed, and he refused to renounce his belief
in Y'shua Mashiyach. Origen criticized Josephus for attributing the fall of
Jerusalem to the martyrdom of Ya'akov, rather than to Y'shua.

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