Parshat Devarim – Shabbat Chazon: July 17, 2021 – 8 Av 5781

Daf HaShavuah: A weekly digest of Parshat HaShavuah (weekly Torah portion)

Parshat Devarim – Shabbat Chazon

  • Stone Chumash p. 938
  • 105 Pesukim
  • Haftarah: Isaiah Ch. 1 pg. 1195

Important Shabbat Times

  • Candle lighting  8:01 pm
  • Vasikin (Sunrise)  6:00:38 am
  • Latest Sh’ma  9:35 am
  • Earliest Mincha  1:45 pm
  • Fast of Tisha B’Av begins  8:18 pm
  • Shabbat concludes  9:02 pm

The Fast of Tisha B’Av: July 17-18

General Introduction

This Shabbat we begin the final book of the Five Books of Moses; the Book of Dvarim, a.k.a. Mishneh Torah, literally,” the repetition of the Law” ( in Greek, Deutoronomion). This second title can be misleading. Although much of the book is a repetition of previous material, there is much new information introduced for the first time. According to tradition, the entire fifth book was written on the final days of Moshe’s life; between the first and seventh of Adar, in the year 2488.

Parshat Dvarim contains several themes:
1) A highlighted summary of the history of the Nation, from the Exodus (i.e. before the death of Moses, on the eve of the entrance to the Land of Israel) to the present. Moshe recalls how he was expecting to bring the people into Israel right after the Exodus, and how he chose judges to adjudicate fairly their disputes. 

2) The people ask Moshe to send spies. The ensuing disaster. Hashem chooses Yehoshua (Joshua) to succeed Moshe. 

3) At the conclusion of forty years, Moshe attempts to lead the people through the territory of Esav (Edom). They assure their “cousins” that they just need passage and they are very willing to purchase all of their needs. Esav meets them with the sword, and they are also forced to bypass the land of Moav as they also deny the people passage. 

4) Sichon, a giant, and his army wage war against Israel. The Israelites defeat him and capture all his cities. They also defeat the giant Og, and capture all of his territory from the east bank of the Dead Sea to modern day Syria.

Calendrical Events

Saturday night  begins the fast of  Tisha B’Av, when we enter full mourning for the loss of our Holy Temple. We will read from the Book of Lamentations, Eicha, from the “Writings” of the Bible. In the morning we read the standard “kinnot,” or elegies, which describe the tragedies of this day. Havdalah should not be recited on Saturday night. However, one may recite “Borei meorei ha’esh” when one sees candle light. Havdalah (on wine only) is recited after Tisha B’av. 

Among the many rules and customs of the day:

  1. One should not eat/drink the entire day.
  2. One should refrain from bathing. One may, however, remove dirt from the skin, and may wash one’s fingers to the knuckle joint as well as over the eyes.
  3. One should refrain from applying oils or salves to the skin, unless absolutely necessary for health reasons.
  4. One should refrain from wearing leather footwear.
  5. One should refrain from greeting someone when possible. (For friends who are not aware of this restriction and may become insulted, you may greet them in a subdued manner.)
  6. It is customary to sit on a low stool as a mourner until mid-day (1:10 pm).
  7. One should not wear Talit or Tefilin during morning services until Mincha.
  8. One should, when possible, refrain from working. Ideally, one should dedicate the day to contemplating the many disasters that have befallen our people on Tisha B’Av throughout Jewish history (most notably the expulsion of the Jews of Spain in 1492, the deportation of Hungarian Jewry during the Holocaust, and the expulsion of the Jews from Gush Katif in 2005).

Please contact the Rabbi if fasting would pose any difficulty!

May this be our final observance of mourning on Tisha B’Av, and may Tisha B’Av become, next year a joyous festival, with the coming of Moshiach Tzidkeinu, Amen!