Collection Musée National Message Biblique Marc Chagall/Photo RMN—Gerard Blot/© 1997 Artists Rights Society (ARS), NY/ADAGP, Paris

“Observe faithfully every word of this teaching,” Moses enjoins the Israelites before he dies (Deuteronomy 31:12). This contemplative portrait of Moses, sculpted by Marc Chagall, appears to reflect the seriousness of Moses’ words.

Although Deuteronomy literally means “second law,” the teaching Moses imparts in this book is not presented as a repetition of the laws that he conveyed at Sinai. Rather, according to Deuteronomy, the laws Moses received at Horeb are given to the Israelites but once, at the end of Moses’ lifetime. The same is true of the other sources of the Torah: Each relates that the laws were given only once, and each includes its own unique version of the laws.