"בעבר הירדן בארץ מואב, הואיל משה באר את התורה הזאת לאמור" [דברים א:ה]
"In the Trans-Jordan, in the
, Moshe undertook to explain this
Torah saying …" [Devarim 1:5] land of Moav
Why does the Torah stress where Moshe was when he went to explain the entire Torah ?
Additionally, Rashi (quoting the medrash Tanchuma) teaches us that this explanation was a translation into all existing 70 languages. Since the Jews did not speak these languages - why would the Torah need that sort of explanation ?
Finally, why would the Torah use the word "be'er - באר" which means to explain or elaborate if it really meant to translate ("letargem - לתרגם") ?
The Torah is more than just a book of laws, and it is certainly more than a recording of the Jewish people's earliest history. The Torah is a crystallization of the divine wisdom and the secrets of the universe. It is the physical manifestation of the eternal and all powerful G-d reaching out and making a concrete contact with us - His frail, mortal creations. Thusly, it is the moral and spiritual compass by which all actions must be judged and all ideas should be evaluated.
Moshe Rabbeinu knows that his time is almost up – he will soon pass and his people will be lead by the capable Yehoshua. But Yehoshua did not ascend
He did not speak with G-d "face to face" ( see – Bamidbar 12:8
meaning - in a direct mode of prophecy). He couldn't convey the depths of the
Torah to the people with the same familiarity that Moshe could. So Moshe, our
Rebbe, undertook to give one, last, encompassing, review class. Mt. Sinai
It is said that the key to a culture is its language. From simplistic examples – like how the Eskimo have 37 different words for snow – to more complex themes suggested by a rhythm that is present or not in a particular language. Moshe Rabbeinu knows that the Jews were heading into the "promised land" – but that they were also entering a different chapter in their national character. Until now they all sat in the tent of Torah. From now on – many of them will work. Commerce, agriculture, civics – these will take up much of their energy and focus. It is likely that in the course of these pursuits they will rub shoulders with the nations of the world. Lest they be misguided into thinking that another culture and another language "has the right ideas about life" Moshe Rabbeinu beats them to the punch. Every foreign language is first "neutralized" by rendering all of its words through the purity of Torah. The translation is not there for the Jews to learn from (they don't even speak the language!) it is there to take the foreign"ness" from it. In this way Moshe is performing the final preparations to sending his beloved students on their way.
That's also why the Torah uses the term "be'er". A "be'er" is a well. To paraphrase an old adage – if you give a man a drink he will not be thirsty today, but if you dig him a well – you will have vanquished his thirst permanently. Moshe is setting up the wellspring of wisdom that the Jewish people will need to draw from repeatedly. The analogy of a well is particularly fitting. The deeper you dig it – the clearer the water and the more reliable the well – no matter how bad the drought. By preempting the inter-culture mingling for all seventy nations – Moshe is digging a very deep well indeed.
And what can we take from this ? We can take heart – no matter where we find ourselves – no matter what our nisyonos are – the Torah has been there first – and it's there to help us. Also, no matter how tough the going gets – the well is deep enough for us to find water – we just gotta dig a little deeper.