2000Moshe Rabbbenu now becomes a man of words, as a whole book bursts forth and, appropriately enough this book is called, "And these are the words..." In the middle of this Parsha, Moshe warns his flock to be careful not to agitate the descendents of Esav. He exhorts:
Some Words to Live By
1. And we faced about and marched into the wilderness, by the Reed Sea route, as YHWH had spoken to me; we circled around the hills of Se'ir for many days-and-years.
2. Now YHWH said to me, saying:
3. Enough for you, circling around these hills! Face about, northward!
4. And as for the people, command (them), saying: You are (about) to cross the territory of your brothers, the Children of Esav, who are settled in Se'ir. Though they are afraid of you, take exceeding care!
5. Do not stir yourselves up against them, For I will not give you of their land so much as the sole of a foot can tread on, for as a possession to Esav I gave the hill-country of Se'ir.
Your Torah Navigator
1. Why all this sensitivity to the children of Esav?
2. Why isn't Israel allowed to capitalize on the fearfulness of Esav?
A Midrash from Devarim Rabba
"Enough for you circling around these hills..." The following verse from Song of Songs was referring to this passage, "I swear to you daughters of Jerusalem like rams and deer of the field if you arouse or awaken the love that you desire." (Song of Songs Chapter 2:7) In Song of Songs the Holy One exacted three oaths from the children of Israel:
1. The end of days will not be revealed.
2. They should not try to hasten the end of days.
3. They will not rebel against the kingdoms who dominate them.
If you keep these oaths all will be well. If you don't, then I will release your flesh to the goats and deer of the field. Just as they have no one to claim their blood, you will also have no one to claim your blood..."
The midrash picks up on the fact that we are not supposed to be adventurous in war. It says that this is not only a lesson for the Biblical conquest, but as God's people we must always tread carefully, even when we are feared by our enemies. We are told in explicit terms that we are not entitled to the land of the children of idolatrous Esav, even though we may believe we could succeed in its conquest. Sometimes it is our restraint that is our greatest show of strength.