Aug 3, 2023
Ekev | 40 Days and 40 Nights, Revisiting Moshe's Speech About the Egel, by Rav Yitzchak Etshalom
Moshe's teaching the audience of Sefer Devarim - an orphaned generation that was, by and large, born into freedom in the desert - has curious twists and turns when contrasted with the narratives of Shemot and Bamidbar. In the middle of Parashat Ekev, Moshe retells the story of the sin of the Egel, but Aharon's role is overlooked, yet he is identified as a target of God's anger. The two motifs of "40 days and 40 nights" along with the tablets are repeated far more frequently than in the narrative of Shemot, raising the larger question of what Moshe's purpose in this speech may be. Exploring the contexts of where "40 days and 40 nights" appear in Tanakh helps us formulate an approach that explains the rhetorical strategy/aim taken by Moshe.