"These are the words that Moses spoke to the entire people of Israel..."—Deuteronomy 1:1.

The book of Deuteronomy relates the monologue spoken by Moses just before the people entered the Promised Land. As it is stated, "These are the words that Moses spoke to the entire people of Israel." Unlike the other four books, which are "the word of G‑d," Deuteronomy is the "word of Moses"—that is, it is his final address to the people.

That does not mean that this book is of mortal invention, but rather that Moses delivered these words through divine inspiration. In the first four books of the Torah, Moses merely took dictation from G‑d, precisely relaying each word without regard to his own understanding. The words of Deuteronomy, however, were first integrated into Moses' own consciousness; and only then were they spoken by him. This does not mean that the content of this book is somehow diluted or compromised by having passed through mortal understanding. Rather, what it means is that Moses attained a level at which G‑d's word could be faithfully transmitted—not just through his mouth, but also through his brain. In his final days, Moses did not just transmit G‑d's message; he first conceived it in his own mind.

Moses did not just transmit G‑d's message; he first conceived it in his own mindThere is a reason why this fusion of mortal and G‑dly intelligence occurred when it did, in the days just prior to entering the Holy Land.

After forty years of wandering in the desert, protected by miracles, the people were poised to meet their destiny and to face the "real world." They would need to be able to take the rarefied spiritual concepts that they had learned during their forty years in the desert and apply them to ordinary life. They needed to put theory into practice and in order to do so they needed to hear G‑d's word integrated and conveyed through the intellect of another human being.

"G‑d speaks through people," is a common saying in recovery. Lofty spiritual concepts are worth little to us in dealing with everyday life if we never hear them spoken in simple, human terms, filtered through the mortal, finite mind of another alcoholic or addict.

Some of us may wonder how it can be that the very same thought that we had come across in our religious studies couldn't help us overcome our alcoholism, but when heard spoken – in slightly different words – by another alcoholic, had a profound and transformative effect. If G‑d's own word hadn't worked on us, how could the word of a mere mortal?

The answer is, of course, that that is G‑d's word—as understood and communicated by another human being who shares our disease.