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Rav Elimelech Biderman (Torah Wellsprings, parashas Devarim - Tishah B'av 2017, p. 16) quotes the Kotzker Rebbe and says that whoever studies sefer Devarim, becomes close(r) to Hashem.

"Even a Yid [RebYehudi] who isn't close [semuchim]to Hashem the entire year,can become close to Hashem when he studies chumash Devarim."

In what context is the Kotzker Rebbe teaching this idea? What exactly does he say and why especially focused on sefer Devarim? (Please include original location of source from Kotzker, since I haven't found it using the words on Otzar HaChochmah).

Any ideas where this can be found and why he writes this?

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  • This sound related to the 955 words for 955 worlds inyan, just not sure if this is what the Rebbe had in mind?
    – Rabbi Kaii
    Jul 20, 2023 at 19:03
  • I remember that yes. Don't see how this relates though.
    – Shmuel
    Jul 20, 2023 at 19:59
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    By the by, I originally started teaching Chumash after I heard three mechanchim (one man, two women) say that they really don't like teaching Devarim - because it's like a long musar shmooze. Be good, don't be bad, worship Hashem, don't worship Avodah Zarah. Hard to teach indeed. So my first class was Sefer Devarim.
    – MichoelR
    Jul 20, 2023 at 21:51
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    @Dude That's sounds plausible. Since I haven't find the Kotzker's original explanation, I don't know if he uses that exact same idea though.
    – Shmuel
    Jul 21, 2023 at 17:00

1 Answer 1

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The ultimate source is Yevamos 4a: "Even according to the one who does not generally derive homiletic interpretations from juxtaposed verses [semuchim], he does derive them from Devarim." The Kotzker's statement seems to be a Chassidic drasha on the geamara's use of the word סמוכים = nearby.

It would still be good to have a source on the Kotzker's statement itself.

"How does one become closer to G-d by studying sefer Devarim?" That is not the question. It's part of the Torah, of course a person becomes closer to G-d by studying it. The question is, What point is he making about sefer Devarim?

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  • This is more of a comment.
    – N.T.
    Jul 21, 2023 at 18:52
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    @N.T. so is yours. It makes sense, but could be greatly improved by providing sources.
    – Shmuel
    Jul 21, 2023 at 19:03
  • @MichoelR TY. That's exactly what I meant. Why especially Devarim?
    – Shmuel
    Jul 21, 2023 at 19:03
  • Well, as for the gemara in Yevamos, see the Mahartz Chayos and others there, who explain that Devarim was one long presentation by Moshe Rabbeinu, so it is understandable that neighboring parts will be more connected than in the rest of the Torah. How that connects to the Chassidische vort - I'd love to know that!
    – MichoelR
    Jul 21, 2023 at 20:39
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    @N.T. You said it backwards. The Kotzker Rebbe's vort is a Chassidic play on the gemara.
    – MichoelR
    Jul 23, 2023 at 2:25

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