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Dvar for Devarim (Deuteronomy 1:1-3:22)

Parshat Devarim records Moshe’s recounting of the events that transpired, including the time we had camped at Har Seir for a while before G-d instructed us to move on. The Passuk says, “you have circled this mountain a lot, now turn northbound” (2:3). Actually, the words literally mean “a lot for you, circle the mountain, turn northbound.” Why does the directive include circling the mountain?

The Kli Yakar explains that Moshe was conveying a separate message. Moshe was saying that when you have a lot, hide it (“tzafon” means north, but “tzafun” means hidden.) As the Jews prepared to enter a land of “plenty,” it became time to anticipate and verbalize the challenges we had never faced before. Staying low-key and avoiding provocations and conflict doesn’t mean being ashamed of who we are and what we represent. As we passed the mountain of Seir, where Esav lived, and as we pass those different from us today, we are guided to maintain a balance between modesty in what we have and pride in who we are.