Please correct me if I'm wrong, the last book of the Torah - Dvorim - is all about what Moses said on his last day(s) to Dor Ha'Aretz, as the Torah testifies:

אֵלֶּה הַדְּבָרִים אֲשֶׁר דִּבֶּר מֹשֶׁה אֶל־כָּל־יִשְׂרָאֵל בְּעֵבֶר הַיַּרְדֵּן בַּמִּדְבָּר בָּעֲרָבָה ...

These are the words that Moses addressed to all Israel on the other side of the Jordan, through the wilderness...

This Chumash counts 199 "newly presented" Mitzvos that weren't told to the generation of Midbar, for the 40 years of their wanderings in the desert. Some of those seem pivotal in Judaism, like:

  • תיח: לאהוב השית' בכל לב
  • תיט: ללמוד תורה וללמדה
  • תכ: לקרות קריאת שמע שחרית וערבית
  • תכא: לקשור תפילין על היד
  • תכב: להניח תפילין על הראש
  • תכג: לקבוע מזוזה בשערים
  • תל: לברך ברכת המזון
  • 'תלב: לירא את ה
  • תלג: להתפלל בכל יום להש"ית
  • תקלח: להשיב אבדה לישראל
  • תקנב: לישא אשה בקידושין

and many many more. I went through the list and couldn't spot a specific pattern that would clearly show that those Mitzvos only apply to Dor Ha'Aretz (like appointing a king or exterminating the 7 nations).

If my assumption is right, why those 199 Mitzvos weren't commanded by G-d upon Dor Hamidbar?

  • 3
    Can't you ask this about all the Mitzvot in Vayikra and Bamidbar too? How was any Mitzva not given immediately? How is this different? (Deleting and reposting your question doesn't excuse you from dealing with this problem in your post.)
    – Double AA
    Aug 18, 2019 at 12:33
  • 1
    @DoubleAA The difference is that all the Mitzvos in Dvorim weren't introduced with וידבר ה' אל משה. I admit I don't understand the mechanism of Mitzvos unfolding.
    – Al Berko
    Aug 18, 2019 at 12:41
  • Possible duplicate of Were Tefillin worn in the Midbar?
    – user15464
    Aug 18, 2019 at 13:14
  • @user15464 How duplicate is it if the other question asks about the Parshios, and I ask about the 200 Mitzvos?
    – Al Berko
    Aug 18, 2019 at 13:22
  • 5
    @AlBerko End of Parshas Bo
    – DonielF
    Aug 18, 2019 at 14:42

1 Answer 1


The answer is that they were. Chazal learn this from Parashat Behar. If the commandment of Shemita, which had no application at all in the wilderness, was taught at Mt. Sinai explicitly, we learn all of the commandments were taught there (Rashi and Sifra).

Also, the location of a mitzvah in the text of the Torah has nothing at all to do with when it was taught chronologically. For instance, the laws of the Red Heifer were taught before Sinai, and they are among the latest mitzvot brought in the Torah.

  • 2
    What about Tevillat Kelim? (Or Pesach Sheni, etc.)
    – Double AA
    Aug 18, 2019 at 21:10
  • In the case of Tevillat Kelim, it seems to me that Elazar is simply reminding the soldiers of a law already taught by Moshe (which Moshe forgot because he got angry). In the case of Pesach Sheni you technically could say that it was still commanded at Sinai (they didn't leave yet). The real challenge (to me) is the laws of inheritence, since they seem to be given specifically at the end of the Wilderness years. I don't know the answer to that. Aug 18, 2019 at 21:46
  • 1
    Also mekoshesh and mekallel and amon/moav "because they hired bilaam....". In the end this isn't a very satisfying answer and seems to not be pshat. There's also a midrash about all of the statements of abaye and rava being at sinai. Not to be taken too literally.
    – Double AA
    Aug 18, 2019 at 21:49
  • 1
    There clearly was a second covenant in Moav with new stuff that was מלבד הברית אשר כרת אתם בחורב
    – Double AA
    Aug 18, 2019 at 23:02
  • Thank you, first, it's just a speculation, second, this contradicts the order of the Torah, if all Mitzvos were given at Sinai they were all written in one place and not scattered all over the Torah.
    – Al Berko
    Aug 19, 2019 at 9:04

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