Dvar for Va’etchanan (Deuteronomy 3:23-7:11)
Parshat Devarim records Moshe recounting the story of the people, including the time we had camped at Har Seir for a while, and were instructed 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 and turn northbound.” The Kli Yakar explains that Moshe was conveying a separate message. He was saying “when you have a lot, hide it” (“tzafon” means north, but “tzafun” means hidden.) Why does the directive include circling the mountain?
As the Jews prepared to enter a land of “plenty”, it was time to prepare for challenges never faced before. Among those challenges is staying low-key, avoiding provocations and conflict. However, that 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 instructed to maintain a balance between modesty in what we have and pride in who we are.