At the end of his life, Moshe, having given the Jewish people 612 mitzvot since leaving Egypt, the revelation at Har Sinai and throughout the 40 years in the desert, now gave to them the final mitzvah: “Now therefore write down for yourselves this song and teach it to the people of Israel. Put it in their mouths, that this song may be My witness against the people of Israel” (Deut. 31:19).
Rabbah said: “Even though our ancestors have left us a scroll of the Torah, it is our religious duty to write one for ourselves.”
Moshes’ final message to us was: “It is not enough that you have received the Torah from me. You must make it new again in every generation.”
The 613th Mitzvah is not simply about writing a Torah, but about the duty to make the Torah new in each generation. To make the living Torah anew. It is not enough to hand it on cognitively – as mere history and law. It must speak to us effectively, emotionally and guide us through every step of our lives.
This Mitzvah symbolizes the fact that though the Torah was given once at Mount Sinai, it must be received many times, as each of us, through our study and practice, strives to recapture the pristine voice heard at Mount Sinai.