These are the words that Moshe spoke to all Yisroel.

Midrash: “In regards to this verse in the Torah the scripture writes, “A tree of life heals the tongue“ (Mishlei 15:4, see Targum Unkeles and Radak, but the Metzudos Dovid explains marpeh to mean soothing).

What is the Midrash coming to teach us? What is the relevance between the verse in Mishlei and the verse in parshas Devorim which is an introduction to Moshe‘s final words to bnei Yisroel before his departure from the world?

An odom godol gives the following explanation of How Moshe Rabbeinu could possibly rebuke all of bnei Yisroel simultaneously? There were many tzaddikim, truly righteous Jews, who apparently didn‘t need to be rebuked. On the contrary, wouldn‘t rebuking them be a grave offense to them?

Chazal (Bova Basra 165a) write: “Most sin through stealing, a minority sin through illicit relations, but all sin through speaking avak loshon hora (lit, dust of slander, i.e., a trace of slander that is prohibited ).

The Torah therefore writes, “These are the words“ that is written in Hebrew, “Eleh hadevorim.“ The letters of the word eleh are an acronym for Avak Loshon Hora. Since everyone may occasionally commit the sin of talking avak loshon hora Moshe Rabbeinu was justified in rebuking all of bnei Yisroel.

But did Moshe Rabbeinu himself avoid the sin of avak loshon hora? Surely he couldn‘t rebuke someone else if he was guilty of the same sin? Chazal (Erechin 15b) teach us: “If a person is a talmid chochom he can protect himself from talking loshon hora by engaging in Torah study, as is written, `A tree of life heals the tongue.‘ If he is an am ho‘oretz, an ignoramus in Torah knowledge, he should humble himself..

Was there ever anyone who was more “engaged in Torah study“ than Moshe Rabbeinu? Furthermore, the Torah (Bamidbar 12:3) writes that our “loyal shepherd“ was the most humble person who ever lived. He embodied these two exceptional qualities, therefore, Moshe Rabbeinu was able to avoid this sin, so he was able to rebuke bnei Yisroel.

Now we understand what the Midrash means when on the first verse in Devorim it cites the verse in Mishlei, “A tree of life heals the tongue.“ Through studying the Torah that heals the tongue, that protects a person from saying loshon hora, Moshe Rabbeinu who engaged in Torah study, was able to rebuke bnei Yisroel.

[Toras Ariel]

These are the words that Moshe spoke to all Israel, on the other side of the Jordan, concerning the Wilderness, concerning the Aravah, opposite the Sea of Reeds, between Paran and Tophel, and Lavan, and Chatzeros, and Di-zahav.

“‘On the other side of the Jordan‘—teaches us that he rebuked them about what they did on the other side of the Jordan; `Concerning the Wilderness‘—teaches us that he rebuked them about what they did in the Wilderness“ (Sifri).
When the great defender of the Jewish Nation, Rebbe Levi Yitzchak of Berditchev zy‘a would expound this verse he would say tearfully,
“These are the words spoken…to all Israel“—Moshe Rabbeinu rebuked bnei Yisroel privately, but when he spoke to HaKodosh Boruch Hu he never criticized them; he would only defend them. He would speak to Hashem about, “Your nation Yisroel.“ Moshe would highly praise bnei Yisroel as being kedoshim.

[Rebbe Levi Yitzchak of Berditchev]

These are the words that Moshe spoke to all Yisroel.“

If a person has sinned his neshomoh becomes tainted. What can he do to repair this damage? Sifrei Chassidus recommend that he should include himself among Klal Yisroel, since even if an individual sinned, the klal as a whole always remains with its kedushah. His takonoh consists in connecting himself to the klal, and in that way, Hashem will willingly accept any mitzvah that he performs.

Furthermore, the source of all aveiros is Odom HaRishon‘s sin of eating from the “tree of knowledge.“ As a result of that, cheit the entire world was cursed with thirty-nine curses and the tikun to protect oneself from those curses, is to properly observe Shabbos and abstain from the thirty-nine forbidden melochos.

“Eleh hadevorim“ alludes to the thirty-nine forbidden melochos of Shabbos (see Shabbos 70a–eleh spelled alefh (1), lamed (30) and heih (5) is the numerical value of 36, and hadevorim being in the plural is the value of two and the definite article heih comes to include another one (2+1=3), for a total numerical value of 39–Rashi, s.v., Devorim).

“That Moshe spoke“–in addition to observing Shabbos that brings about a tikun for his neshomoh, “To all Yisroel“–a person must also attach himself to Klal Yisroel. These two tenets, strict Shabbos observance and attach oneself firmly to our nation, one can be zocheh to perfection in avodas Hashem.

[No‘am Elimelech]