On the last day of his life, Moshe gathers together all the people, both young and old, lowly and exalted, men and women in a final initiation. The covenant includes not only those who are present, but even those generations yet unborn. Moshe admonishes the people again to be extremely vigilant against idol worship, because in spite of having witnessed the abominations of Egypt, there will always be the temptation to experiment with foreign philosophies as a pretext for immorality. Moshe describes the desolation of the Land of Israel which will be a result of the failure to heed
Subtle as a Brick
“You are standing today…” (29:9)
Rashi comments on this verse: “For when Israel heard a hundred curses minus two (in the previous parsha), their faces turned green. They said, ‘Who can stand these (curses)?’ Moshe began to mollify them (with the first words of this week’s parsha) ‘You are standing…’ ”
If the purpose of the curses was to arouse the fear of Heaven in the hearts or the Jewish People, why did Moshe seek to mollify their effect and dilute the impression they made on the Israel?
An unsophisticated individual is affected by bald threats and explicit warnings. The more intelligent and sophisticated the person, the more subtle can be the reproof, and the greater can be the appeal to logic and reason.
The Jews who left Egypt were the "Generation of Knowledge" — Dor de’ah. Never was there a generation on such an exalted plane. When they heard such graphic and bare-faced curses and threats, their faces "turned green". This means that they were very hurt that they were considered to be on such a low level that they required such overt and explicit physical threats.
Thus Moshe started to placate then and told them that these threats were not directed at them: “You are standing all of you in front of the L-rd, your
- Sources: Kehillat Yaakov in Mayana shel Torah